With headlines about school closures mounting, are you working on any pieces about what working parents can do with kids unexpectedly spending all day at home? I have a resource who can talk about this topic and specifically, provide alternatives to screen time — a few of which I’ve listed below. The source is CIRCLE, a company with parental control solutions for managing families’ connected devices.
While it often feels like the easiest solution for parents who need to occupy their children while they work is to drop a device into their hands, doing so can be harmful to them in the long run, as research has shown that extended screen use for children can lead to unhealthy habits and lifestyles. Here are some alternatives:
- Set the tone. The rules still apply and screens aren’t a replacement for school. Let them know that they don’t just get to use screens whenever they want.
- Lead by example. Hold yourself to the same standard as your kids. (Circle’s Time Limits let you set a screen time schedule, so when time’s up, it’s devices down.)
- Activities! Give your kids alternative things to do besides jumping on their phones, tablets, or consoles. Reading books, art, board games, or taking care of pets can help pass the time. (Check out list of 60 simple ideas for family fun if you need inspiration!)
- Screen-free zones. Make sure you have set areas where screens aren’t allowed, such as bedrooms or the dinner table. (With Circle, you can Pause the Internet to make sure everyone has devices down at dinnertime.)
- Give them a to-do list. There’s always stuff to get done around the house, so giving your kids a to-do list will also make the time fly. As an added bonus, write a time value next to each task (for example: five minutes for taking out the trash, 30 minutes for cleaning the bathroom, and so on) and give them a couple of extra minutes on their favorite device (which is easy to do with Circle Rewards feature).