Developing Healthy Habits in Kids: How to Limit a Screen Time

    Screen Time

    A limited screen time is one of the healthy habits parents strive to develop in their child as soon as he grows older. Very often 5 year old children get CDs with developing video games as a gift for Birthday. From one side this idea is interesting but from the other side, parents start worrying about their kid’s eyesight and posture.

    Of course you won’t isolate your kid from all the inventions of the modern world – they are an important and integral part of our life already. But you can teach your child to treat them right.

    How much time can a child spend in front of the computer screen without a health risk?

    Pediatricians recommend 1-1,5 hours for the 5 year olds. But you should clearly understand what the child will do after he stops playing video games. After all, there’s a high chance that he will switch on TV afterwards, for example. It’s a matter of principle: the time spent in front of the computer screen is determined by an activity the child does before and afterwards. The child should have a sufficient amount of physical activity, an opportunity to look into the distance.

    When the child reads or looks at the computer screen, he holds his head close to the book and the computer and the eyes are working hard. And when he plays games in the fresh air, i.e. he looks into the distance, his visual organ works more physiologically, and the computer isn’t absolutely dangerous then.

    Here’s another matter of principle. Many parents wait for the moment when they can finally sit the child in front of the computer and have more free time for themselves. In this case the computer is a very handy thing.

    What can you do in this situation?

    You can give your child presents alternating video games with a bicycle or roller-skates. And if the grandparents want to make another gift, they can invite their child for a walk in the fresh air or take a trip to the zoo. In fact, kids mostly need the things that will allow them to spend more time outdoors.

    Therefore, benefit and harm of the computer are determined mostly by the amount of time the child’s parents and other relatives are ready to spend to provide him with health and free time.

    In any case, 1,5 hours in front of the computer are not dangerous for a child aged over five years if he spends at least two-three hours a day playing active games in the fresh air.

    How to draw kid’s attention to other activities?

    Many children don’t wish to visit sport clubs, nothing on Earth can make them go for a walk outdoors, they live in their own world of computer games, social networks and chats…

    So, what’s the matter? What a child can be interested in?

    A kid needs communication

    The Internet and computer games are a kind of escape from reality and everyday problems, it is a parallel world where a kid can live forever, be a hero or a villain, build and conquer different civilizations, where he can have a heart-to-heart talk in the chats and social networks.

    The child just lacks communication in the real world as well as understanding of his personal problems, ideas, losses, successes and dreams. Unfortunately school teachers don’t talk much to children but provide much homework to them and scold if they don’t do it.

    So, dear parents, communicate with your kids as much as possible, share your secrets and be very honest with them. And then your children won’t need a parallel world no matter how tempting it may be.

    Your example should be contagious

    I know a family whose dad spends all his spare time playing video games: after work till bedtime, and on the weekends he distracts to say a pair of words to the guests. He doesn’t care about his child. When the wife tells him about the son’s misbehavior, all he can say is Jeorge, don’t act like this!

    If you don’t do any physical exercise, sing songs, take pictures, make postcards of beads – immediately get registered in the corresponding clubs and communities. Don’t you know which ones? Great, ask your child for advice and start doing these activities together with him. Yes, together.

    Create family holidays with quizzes and picnics

    At first glance, it is not difficult, but if your child is already accustomed to spend his free time this way, you won’t change his habit within a day. You will have to make some effort and, in the first place, to break your own habits, anger, laziness, unwillingness to change.

    Change your habits, dear parents, and your children will change them with you.

    How do you act if your kid spends too much time in front of the computer or with a smartphone in his hand? Share your stories with us!


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