The pandemic welcomed quite a few changes in the way children learn and play- Gadgets have taken a priority in their lives and they got accustomed to it sooner than we could imagine.
Parents from all over the world are now trying to understand the magnitude of influence of gadgets. However it’s not cause for panic or fear. Research has revealed a potential upside to the oft-maligned devices: Kids who spent more time with screens had more close friends. These findings suggest that we should be mindful of screens, but that screen time is likely not inherently harmful to our youth,” said lead author Katie Paulich, a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.
The American Psychological Association has published key findings from their research in the area and it includes:
- Children under age 2 don’t learn from screens as well as they do from live interactions.
- Co-viewing media with parents can protect young kids against many downsides of screen time.
- Television viewing time is correlated with obesity in youth.
- Meeting sleep, screen time and physical activity guidelines is associated with the best mental health outcomes in teens, but few adolescents meet all three.
Beat the Screen Time woes!
Cook up Creative Pursuits
Research has shown links between television use and reduced creative imagination. In line with that, a recent study has shown that screen time use for school aged children decreases children’s “mental imagery skills”:
Encouraging children to participate in activities that stimulate creative thinking such as craft work- create anything including art or cook up an easy and delightful snack. Indulging your child in the kitchen will help them learn an essential life skill while they whip up some delicious treats.
Watch together to bond better
The kind of content being consumed through devices can be potentially harmful if not monitored, such as graphic portrayal of violent and aggressive acts can cause children to learn these behaviors and imitate them:
Parents and children can watch programmes together, it's also found that parental involvement with children while watching educational programmes helps increase learning in children.
Screen Free time and zone
Meal times i.e. breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner could be the scheduled screen free time where you talk about the day or share any experience, you could also involve your children in the kitchen for small final tasks such as arranging the salad or preparing an easy fruit juice. These activities help develop a feeling of responsibility and belongingness. A screen free zone could be set up anywhere/time at home where your child indulges in activities that don't include using a gadget.
Don’t miss out on the Outdoors!
Excessive screen time makes children homebound; children feel comfortable with the gadgets and starts to prefer indoor activities than outdoor activities, leading to a sedentary lifestyle:
Step out of home when it's safe to do so:
As and when you find it safe to step out of your homes, take our tiny tots for a walk or let them cycle or skate. You could also do short trips to the library or parks during the weekends. Spending time outdoors would be a refreshing break for both them and yourself!
Meditation and mindfulness can start young:
Although the words sound too big for children, the practice could go a long way. Mindfulness is simply a practice whereby you focus completely on the present moment. Simple meditation and mindfulness activities such as breathing exercises could go a long way in developing attention skills, self regulation skills, deep focus and reducing feelings of uneasiness that children might feel while living through ambiguous times such as these.
The following link offers great advice for those interested in practicing mindfulness activities along with their children: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/mindfulness-for-children
These are just a few ideas. You could always tailor make plans that best suit your family but it's crucial for adults too to join along and set an example while at it. So be extra careful while you spend a lot of time on your screen, as your tiny tot could pick this up before you know it!