SCREEN TIME AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
WRITTEN BY SALLY HILLS-DAVIS, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST AND KIRSTY BROCKLEHURST, PHYSIOTHERAPIST
There is more and more evidence coming out that shows that for our children being on phones, tablets, computers and game consoles is not only affecting children’s sleep but also their speech and language. We all know that putting on a game/tablet and television is quite honestly the only way to get things done at times but too much screen time can really impact your child’s development.
Screen time refers to any time that your child is watching anything with a screen. It has been shown that having the television on cuts down interaction as a family. The early skills of communication and talking takes place in the early years when it is important for your child to look at their parent’s face, watching them interact with others and themselves and hearing other members of the family talking.
Ideas for using Screen Time at home
If your child is sitting with the screen, find time to sit and talk about the activity that they are doing.
Set limits early on so that your child understands that screen time is not acceptable all the time. This is particularly helpful when your children are coming up to the teenage years. If you have set the boundaries early on it can really help you argue your case as they get older.
Be a role model. Take time away from your screen. If you are looking at your phone all the time, your child is likely to do the same. Take times in the day when there is a no phone rule. This could be no phones at meal times giving opportunities for conversation.
Reading a physical book together. Whilst screen books can be great, a physical book can help your child develop skills such as turning pages and touch, in addition to this at bed time it is better to encourage sleep without a screen around.
If you are not watching your television, turn it off. Having a television on in the background can be distracting to a child, especially if they are having to concentrate on homework or play.