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Healthy Relationships with Screen Time for the Whole Family
In the winter, it is easy for both children and parents to rely on more on technology. For young children, it is easy to use television, phones, or tablets as their main form of entertainment. While using some technology can help them learn new things, it is also important for both children and parents to take time away from screens as well.
Taking time away from screens has many benefits to both children and parents. You may feel more connected with your child when you are able to spend quality time with them, without the interruption of technology. Decreasing screen-time can also help increase mental health, such as increased anxiety and depression.
Here are a few tips to develop a healthy relationship with screen time:
- Decrease your own screen time – If possible, try to not use screens as much in front of your children. This will show them that you are interested in them, rather than what is on your screen. This may help them disconnect from technology as well.
- Listen to what activities your child wants to do – Ask your child what activities they are interested in doing, outside of watching television or playing on a tablet. Try your best to do the activities your child is interested in, to show them there are other ways to entertaining themselves that don’t need to include screens.
- Let your children be bored sometimes – Alternatively, instead of always trying to find other ways to entertain your child, allow them to do nothing. This way, they may find ways to entertain themselves, without relying on you for entertainment.
- Create “screen-free” times for the entire family – Once a week, set aside a time for the entire family to do a technology-free activity! This may look like doing an art project together or playing a board game. This will give you time to connect with each other, without involving screens.
- Engage with technology in meaningful ways – Technology can be used in positive ways, to promote learning and engagement with the world around us. Try to use technology in meaningful ways, such as language learning, exploring new topics, or communicating with people that live far away. This way, both you and your child are getting something out of engaging with technology, besides entertainment.
Your family can work together to develop healthier relationships with technology. Using these tips and increased awareness of how often you use technology, it may be easier than you think to disconnect from screens. Visit the Mayo Clinic to learn more about decreasing screen time.