Screen time is one of the most important topics which is being discussed among parents nowadays. My kids are 4.6 years old and 21 months old. Until my daughter turns 4 years we were no screen policy with her except for video calls and my toddler is still no-screen. I want to share some of the steps we have observed for screen-free approach and to make more childhood memories without any screen.
Why avoid Screen-time?
A lot more research happened on the side effects of screen time and loads of information available over the internet on why we have to avoid screen-time. So am not going to talk about the same in detail. Instead, I want to discuss the situations where we get tempt to give mobiles and ways to avoid the same. To talk about the side effects, most common are
- Language development: Kids exposed to too much screen time during early childhood may face language delay.
- The radiations are not suitable for those tiny eyes.
- They might not have a firm finger grip if they started to use touch phones for a longer time.
- More than anything, it’s an addiction. Once we started, it’s tough to come out.
Situations and ways to avoid it:
Following are some cases where we urge to give our mobiles or switch on the television to get our work done.
- Cooking and cleaning time.
- Kids mealtime
- While getting read.
- To avoid Tantrum.
- To teach them something.
- No one is for help
Cooking and Cleaning:
The kitchen is one of the favorite places for kids to play. As the young age is full of exploration, they were curious to know what is happening while we are working in the kitchen. Kitchen is the first place to learn the world. Younger kids love to play with kitchen items . As we can’t keep them near the cooking area all the time and we tend to provide screens to keep them busy, and to get our work done. But instead of providing the screen we do the following alternatives.
- Try to create any activity based on kitchen item and keep them with us.
- If they want to look at what we are cooking , kitchen stepper stool is a good option. Based on our family situation we can buy it and let the child watch us working. We can ask the child to help us in adding ingredient as well.
- If possible finish the cooking before kids wakes up.
If both the parents are at home, one of them can take care of the child and other one can do the work. If nothing works out, I will leave my entire kitchen work, come back and start to play with her. But never thought of providing the screen to get the work done.
I have started Baby-led weaning (Self-feeding) during earlier months and following the same till now. I never fed my kids and both of them eats on their own. We sit as a family and have our meal together. As we all sit together , they she concentrates on their food more than anything else, though if they have little distraction they focus on meal . So, we never faced any problem during mealtime, and distraction was out of scope during mealtime.
To avoid Tantrums :
Trust me; screen time will never reduce tantrums. Instead, it will double the problem. Whenever my kids show an outburst, instead of diverting with the screen, we stay and support physically and mentally. If we start to show screens or give whatever they want, that will become a significant cause for tantrum rather than stopping it. They will begin to ask for it and started to show more tantrums.
Our family, environment, exploring the outside world is an excellent place for learning; we don’t need any new technology for learning.. Kids will look at us, observe us, and learn everything. We can take our kids outdoor, follow different activities at home, we can read books, and by doing so, they will learn a lot rather than screens.
We stay in a nuclear setup and far away from our family without any help around. It’s a big drawback as we have to complete all the work on our own. I will try to engage her to get the work done; if not, I will wait for my husband to come home. If we start to give screens, then they will stick to that habit.
To be Followed :
Every other family member must be supportive of the no-screen time policy. We are the one who introduces screens to kids. Please try not to show them any rhymes or anything over the mobile and don’t switch ON the television. Am sure it’s a bit hard to avoid using mobiles in front of them but make them understand Mobiles are for elderly people to talk with someone and it’s not a toy. If we didn’t show any rhymes, they don’t even know they can watch it on mobile.
- Talk about your No-screen policy with friends. So, they won’t use it while we are visiting them. All our friends know about it, and they won’t use TV when we are at their place.
- I agree with the point of television and mobiles as a source of entertainment and relaxation for adults after a long tiring day. But that’s the same with kids too. They will be kids for only a few years, and they need our attention during their early days. We have to provide that comfort, care to them.
- Though we never showed her screen, I won’t say we never used it in front of her. We use it sometimes. At that time, her first response is, “Don’t use mobiles,” “Play with me.” We definitely feel bad when we hear those words. We stop use mobiles the next moment and start to play with her.
More than anything, if we as a parent stay strong in no screen policy we wont tend to provide the same at any cast.
Screens are occupying our life and it has both positives as well as negatives. Kids are going to have technologies throughout their life, Let the child explore the world and learn during their early days
About Author :
I am Indumathi @themomslittleworld, SAHM of a preschooler and a toddler. I was a Telecom Engineer in India and later moved to the USA. After the birth of my first daughter, I want to raise her gadget-free and love to have screen-free childhood. When the months pass by, it was a little hard to engage her with regular play.
During my online search, I came to know about the concept of early childhood development. We have started to do lots of early learning activities, book reading, etc., and this creates more interest in me to pursue a proper education. I have completed my certification in Early childhood education, and I run my own kids blog themomslittleworld.com.
Engaging her through early learning activities, involving her in practical life skills, day-to-day activities, and me, loads of free play, and outdoor play helps me achieve screen-free childhood for my daughter. I am a budding parenting coach, and I help parents to achieve emotional calmness through my parenting workshops and one-one sessions