How to decrease screen time for your kids
You’ve been there. I’ve been there. And it’s never a fun experience.
You’re running around town, completing errands, caring for the house, doing laundry, and scheduling appointments. While you’re taking care of business, your kids might be doing what all kids do—watching screens, doom scrolling, and hanging out on social media.
Once you realize the amount of time your kids have been glued to a screen, you try and rectify the situation and turn off the device.
That’s when it happens. The zombie meltdown that always comes after too much screen time.
Like I said, it’s never fun, but it happens to all parents. Here are some ways to decrease screen time and some activities you can do instead.
How to decrease screen time for your kids
There are several ways to decrease screen time and set better boundaries with your children. Here are some ideas that have worked well for the parents on the Reading With RIK team.
1. Set time limits on devices
Setting specific limits on screen time and using screen time management apps along with notifications can be an effective way to reduce excessive screen use.
Start by setting achievable daily or weekly limits for each device or app, taking into account work and personal obligations.
You can also use built-in screen time management features on your device or download third-party apps that allow you to track your screen usage and set usage limits. These apps can also provide insights into your habits and patterns, allowing you to make informed decisions about where and when to cut back on screen time.
To maximize the benefits, consistently enforce the limits you set, and consider making screen time management a part of your daily routine, like setting aside designated screen-free times.
It’s essential to limit time in front of a screen because too much blue light can be damaging. Not to mention, too much screen time can lead to a lack in physical activity, obesity, playing too many video games, and sometimes even problems with mental health.
2. Create designated screen-free zones (like a reading room or a toy room)
Creating designated screen-free zones or times can be a powerful way to decrease screen time, form new hobbies, and improve overall well-being.
For example, making your bedroom a screen-free zone can help you sleep better, while not using screens during meals can help you be more present and connected with loved ones.
Establishing these designated screen-free times can be as simple as setting aside specific times of the day for screen-free activities, or establishing physical spaces where screens are not allowed. It can be helpful to make these rules clear to yourself and others, and to stick to them consistently.
Additionally, incorporating screen-free activities, such as reading, exercising, or spending time with loved ones into these designated times can help make the transition away from screens feel more purposeful and enjoyable.
3. Engage in other fun activities
I’m always surprised that when I unplug devices, my kids find something creative to do. I usually find them reading, making up games, coloring, or playing outside. It feels like a miracle!
Engaging in other activities is an important part of reducing screen time and improving overall well-being.
Exercise, reading, spending time with friends and family, and pursuing hobbies and interests are all great alternatives to screen time.
Exercise can improve physical health, boost mood, and provide a break from screens. Reading can be a relaxing and educational experience while spending time with loved ones can help strengthen relationships and promote social connectedness. Pursuing hobbies and interests can also help foster a sense of purpose, creativity, and fulfillment.
To maximize the benefits, it is important to make these activities a priority, and to set aside dedicated time for them in your daily or weekly schedule.
Additionally, finding new activities that you enjoy and that challenge you in different ways can help keep things fresh and engaging, making it easier to stay away from screens.
4. Practice mindfulness
It’s easy to let the day slip away and realize we haven’t accomplished daily tasks or anything productive. Sometimes it takes making a concerted effort to be mindful.
Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment and one's thoughts and feelings without judgment, and can help reduce stress, anxiety, and distraction.
To practice mindfulness, start by taking regular breaks from screens and engaging in simple activities such as deep breathing, stretching, or mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can also be incorporated into daily activities such as meals, walks, or other screen-free time.
For kids, incorporating mindfulness activities into their daily routine can help them develop healthy habits and reduce screen time, while also promoting well-being and self-awareness.
Parents can also model mindfulness by setting aside time for themselves and practicing mindfulness together with their children, creating a shared experience and promoting a healthy, screen-free lifestyle for the whole family.
5. Consider replacing screen time with audiobooks or podcasts
Finding alternatives for screen-based leisure activities is a key part of reducing screen time and improving overall well-being. One alternative is to listen to podcasts or audiobooks, which can provide entertainment and education while freeing up your hands and eyes from screens.
Other screen-free leisure activities include taking up a hobby, such as painting, photography, or gardening, or pursuing outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, or camping.
Participating in local community events, such as concerts, festivals, or sports games, can also provide a change of pace and a break from screens.
To find the best alternatives for you, it may be helpful to experiment with different activities and keep track of what you enjoy most.
By incorporating these alternatives into your daily or weekly routine, you can create a balanced, screen-free lifestyle that promotes well-being and fulfillment.
Try Reading With RIK
There are several ways to decrease set screen time limits. The tips above will help with the wellness of your child and help them with problems that result from excessive screen time.
We recommend kids take a break from phone calls, social media apps, text messages, and video games and try a Reading With RIK subscription to help motivate kids to read more and spend less time on devices. We’ve seen hundreds of kids learn to love reading, and we know your child will too. Try it out!