These days, screens are unavoidable (after all, you’re looking at one right now). While the recent advances in technology have brought a lot of positive things into the world, you don’t want your child constantly looking at them. Screens pull us away from our real lives so that we can’t truly be present, and people can even become dependent on them. Children are especially vulnerable to screen dependency, so it is important to teach your child how to unplug and fully explore the world around them. Unfortunately, limiting screen time can be a real challenge. Fortunately, if you are proactive, you can teach your child to not depend on screens.
Prioritize Outdoor Time
Make sure that your child is spending plenty of time outside and away from electronic devices, especially this summer. It’s important for your child to have a variety of experiences, and outdoor play is ideal for exploring the world, getting some sun, and learning about their environment. There is a ton of fun to be had outside, whether you head to the pool, explore a national park, or just hang out in your own backyard. After your child has adequate time to run around, there’s nothing wrong with having them unwind and relax inside with a TV show or computer game. Just make sure to balance the outdoor time with the screen time.
Don’t Use Screens as Babysitters
Most parents have had moments where they used an electronic device as a babysitter. After all, it is an easy way to entertain your child while you take care of other things, like doing the dishes, paying bills, responding to emails, or just taking a few minutes to yourself. Many also use their smartphones or tablets as a way to distract children and make them more patient during times of waiting, such as at a restaurant while you wait for food. While this is not a bad tool to keep in your back pocket, it becomes a problem when you begin to rely solely on screens to entertain your child. The occasional smartphone game while you drive to soccer practice won’t do any major harm, but children need to engage in the world. Waiting is a part of life, and if your child never learns how to do this, imagine what will happen when they need to wait in line and your device runs out of battery — tears will probably be involved. Not only that, but not having anything to do but wait will engage your child’s imagination more. When you are constantly entertaining them, they don’t have the opportunity to explore their own minds.
Limit Screens Before Bed
The light emitted from screens can disturb our circadian rhythms because the light makes our brains believe it’s daytime. Therefore, make sure your child isn’t using screens within an hour before bed. In addition, keep all screens such as smartphones and tablets out of their bedroom to encourage them to sleep away from technology.
At Foundations for Learning, we create an environment that allows children to explore the world outside of screens. Contact us today if you’re looking for a daycare in Glastonbury!