Are you a parent looking for help in reducing your child’s screen time?
Or at least make sure they are making it meaningful?
Are you constantly having to ask your child to put down the…
- Game system remote
- Mobile phone
Regardless of age, technology is a massive part of our world. There are very few areas of our lives that technology is NOT a part of these days.
Sometimes this can be a challenge as a parent as you want to allow your child to enjoy screen time. But you also want to ensure the skills learned “pre-technology” aren’t lost.
Think social interaction, communicating in a format other than texts, and gather information solely in written form versus audio/video.
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So let’s make sure that at least some of the screen time your child is getting is meaningful.
4 Ways to Make Screen Time Meaningful
1. Virtual Homework Meetings –
Your child already enjoys screen time use that to your advantage.
If you’re trying to encourage your child to interact with others in a more personal aspect, have your child work with his peers using FaceTime, Zoom, or any other free online meeting space to do their homework together.
Not only will this be motivating because they get to use technology, but your child will also work on collaboration skills AND be interacting “real-time” with another human.
Of course, you may need to set some guidelines to ensure work gets done versus just chit-chatting, but it will be worth it.
Also, if you are worried about homework completion using this method but still want to take advantage of creating opportunities for more “face to face” interaction, you can certainly create assignments for your child.
- Pair reading/discussing of books
- Researching an activity, they want to do
- Writing a persuasive essay together on why you should take them to their favorite concert or sporting event.
2. E-Pen Pals –
Another way to take advantage of technology is to have your child become Pen Pals with another peer their age. (Maybe you’ve moved, and they miss their friends or perhaps you’ve connected with someone on social media that has a child similar in age.).
Set up an email account (that you can monitor) and have your child exchange emails with a peer their age, or maybe even someone older that is a role model for your child.
While this may not be 1:1 “real-time” interaction, it will encourage your child to develop social skills and conversational practice often lost in the world of texting.
This will teach your child to:
- Ask questions
- Listen for answers
- Learn the back and forth flow of communicating without the abbreviations and quick replies (and often instant gratification!) used in text messages.
3. Screen Time Activities/Research –
Have your child research something online that they are interested in that he can create.
For example, maybe it’s a step by step directions to drawing their favorite character from a movie or finding a recipe to make their favorite treat. Then create/build/do it!
They could do this by themselves OR FaceTime a friend and create it together!
Encourage your child to find the directions without a video. This will teach your child to follow written directions and give them an opportunity to use technology in a meaningful way!
4. Analyzing/Responding to Content Virtually–
Technology has undoubtedly changed the way we gather information. While videos and audiobooks are amazing, sometimes, there is a need to synthesize and analyze data in different formats.
Utilize screen time to your advantage by having your child read articles on current events or even modern shows. Then create documents for your child to answer questions and interpret that information.
Using technology with current interests will engage your child. But having your child read rather than just listen will use different aspects of their brain for learning.
Additional Screen Time Resources
Technology has opened so many incredible doors for all of us. Although, there are also those times when sometimes the methods of the “good ole days” are still necessary to learn and utilize, even if still support by technology in some aspects.
Check out 5 Great Educational Resources that may be helpful for your child to maintain academic skills.
Do you have a child that needs more one on one assistance?
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Finding a balance between using technology and not relying on it can be challenging but is necessary for learning. We’d love to hear ways you’ve found to make screen time meaningful.
I’ve been putting on a lot of EDUCATIONAL screen time videos on for my son! It makes me feel like he’s learning something, so I feel good about his watching it!
Great advice. I suppose we should be trying to make screen time more meaningful at the moment considering it’s far too easy to sit on the computer/phone.
These are great ways to make screen time count! I am thankful that this was not something I had to worry about when my kids were younger. I’m not sure I would have been able to make it count. I’m glad there are resources like this to help parents.
My grandson’s school has adopted a virtual learning classroom when they start in August. I really don’t know how they would go about this, (considering my grandson will be in Kindergarten). I will send the link to this post to my daughter. I think it will be a big help for her to know about these tips.
Thank you for sharing this super important piece as it is important to limit the amount of time spent on the many devices that we all use every day. My god daughter is on the tablet way too much I feel and I am going to share this post with my brother as the will give him the much needed insight. Thank you!
I love these ideas for making screen time meaningful. Creating a “research” projects is a great way to encourage thoughtful screen time and have children learn something. Wonderful!
I think it’s super important to give screen time meaning when kids are young… if your kid is just watching you sit and scroll through social media all day, they’ll want to do that too, so setting an example by sharing useful screen time with your kid will definitely benefit them!
What a great list of reminders. I am going to try that on my kids too, Thanks 🙂