The role technology plays in our all lives has been on the rise for years, but COVID-19 rapidly escalated technology adoption and usage. Many children had to attend at least some school virtually, and technology also provided an escape from boredom during stay-at-home orders.
We’ve all heard about the dangers of too much technology and screen time, but COVID-19 puts many parents in a bind. There weren’t many other activities kids could do, especially during cold winter months.
Fortunately, there are still some ways you can help kids with tech time during COVID-19.
Monitor Internet Use
While kids have had to be online more for school work, it does not mean they should suddenly get free reign. It’s still important to monitor your kids’ online activities and set internet safety rules. Discuss online bullying and safety with your kids to make sure they understand how to stay safe online, and when to come to you with concerns. When appropriate, set parental controls on internet usage and screen time.
Relax without Tech
After a day staring at the screen for school and then watching TV etc, your kids need time to wind down without tech. Practice non-technology related relaxation techniques at least an hour before bedtime. For example, you can work on deep breathing, stretching, or meditation. Instead of watching TV, read a book or listen to music while relaxing.
Take Technology Out of the Bedroom
Limit screen time before bedtime by keeping phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, etc out of the bedrooms. This will help your kids associate their bed with sleep, and give their brains a break from the blue light. Instead of screen time, kids can play with toys or read before bed. Encourage them to do so by doing it with them.
Keep your kids moving, ensuring they get enough physical activity each day. This will help reduce screen time and promote sleep. When possible, go outside for walks or playing in the yard. You can practice sports skills, like soccer, football, basketball, etc in your yard or on your driveway. When it’s too cold or wet to go outside, find fun ways to stay active inside together. Take turns picking an exercise, race to see who can complete a chore the fastest, or try family yoga challenges.
Technology has been a huge help for kids during the pandemic. They’ve used it to learn, connect, and adapt to a very different world. However, too much technology is still a detriment. The key is to help kids balance their screen time and find other ways to stay active and entertained.