Any parent will tell you that it’s pretty much impossible to keep kids away from digital devices, especially in this day and age. With all the fuss about screen time and preventing our kids from becoming addicted to technology, it’s tough to decide when enough is enough – especially when you have a kid that’s ready to throw a tantrum the minute you say “turn it off!”.
These days, so much of our kids’ lives involve a screen or electronic device of some kind that we worry about the risks – because, surely, it can’t be all that good for the kids. The good people at Tanglin Trust School understand. Today, Veena Annies, Head of Infant IT at Tanglin Trust School shares her top tips for bringing up kids in the digital age.
Create age-appropriate limits
Habits develop early, so make sure you establish clear screen time rules while your kids are still young. The American Association of Paediatrics recommends no more than one hour of screen time per day for 3-7 year olds. Got a kid that insists on going beyond this limit? Talk to your child and explain that it’s important to do other things too! But if they have 3 minutes of a TV show left to watch, or if they’ve almost completed the level in a game, respect their need to finish it. Using phrases like: ‘How much time do you have left till you’re finished? Is the programme nearly done? Ok, you have five more minutes’ will help a bit. Of course, you can be flexible every once in a while, but consistency is key – especially with screen time.
Make media choices you’re comfortable with
There are lots of great kid-friendly TV shows, apps, games, and websites. Go for quality and age-appropriateness. Not everything needs to be a “brain-builder”, but there’s a difference between mindless tapping and meaningful entertainment. Choose quality apps that will keep children learning, exploring and entertained. Apps that require thought, challenge and problem solving (active participation) are your best bet!
Enjoy it together
The first step to cutting the cord? Getting involved! By showing an interest in what your kids are doing or by playing along with them, you’ll see exactly what they are doing. This means you’ll also be able to gauge whether or not it’s quality screen time for your kids. There are heaps of bonding activities you can try: making movies, editing photos or you could even ask your kids to teach you how to play their favourite game!
Model responsible use of technology
If you want your kids to manage their screen time, you’ll need to be a good example. Reduce your own screen time and set tech-free zones and times at home that everyone has to follow. Involve the whole family in setting rules and boundaries for screen time and e-safety. Remember it’s not a punishment, but rather about keeping a balance.
Still worried about screen time? Tanglin has regular ParentWise workshops to help keep its community up to date in an ever-changing environment. The workshops work hand in hand with Tanglin Trust’s curriculum, which includes a strong emphasis on learning to be a ‘Respectful, Responsible and Purposeful User of Technology.’
If you’re loving how Tanglin is working with technology, why not check out its special learning environment for yourself? Visit the school website to find out more about its Open House events or to book a tour.
This post is sponsored by Tanglin Trust School