According to NPR’s Life Kit, there are four essential ways to get the most out of your child’s screen time. Children can learn empathy and resilience and prepare for careers when their parents become digital mentors.
Here are four ways to make the most out of your children’s screen time (NPR):
1. Whenever possible, share screens with your kids.
With the littlest kids, treat screens like a picture book. As they get older, bond over movie nights and video game time, and talk with them about what they’re playing and watching solo. Prompt them to reflect on the positive lessons and the negative messages they’re getting — a process called “active mediation,” which helps you connect with your kids and helps them become more media savvy.
2. Balancing screen use is about much more than time.
Rather than focusing on controlling the amount of time a child is clocking on screens each day, look at the overall balance of the child’s day. Is your child getting enough sleep? Are you managing screen-free family meals? Are there any behavior problems? And make sure media time is balanced among consumption, creation and connection — such as video chatting with the grandparents.
3. Be smart about content.
Most popular children’s apps are bogged down with ads. Autoplay can lead to some inappropriate content. Be the guardian when they’re younger, and keep the conversation going to lay the foundation for kids to make wise media choices as they get older.
4. Look for what’s positive about your kids’ screen time so you can help those positive things grow.
We don’t get far as parents if we always condemn our kids’ interests. Help them find safe, positive outlets for their media passions. Consider that video games might help your child engage with reading or storytelling — and that writing and reading fan fiction about a pop band might be a way to connect with others and be creative.
Project B3 thinks that these are all great tips! We especially think it’s important to be mindful of what kind of content your children our choosing at a young age.