Bribery for getting homework done – goodies like chocolates and color pencils fared well in the past. Hacking it with some extra minutes of screen time is the norm in contemporary parenting.
Is half-an-hour more of cartoon time the premium reward in your household? Does that knock your little one’s socks off? Few insights of caution and care awaits you right here.
What does screen time do to your child?
Impending project deadlines can be all the more taxing during the work-from-home schedules; your progress bar tends to be stagnant with an unoccupied child around. When workload mounts and time shrinks, you might be left with no option than switching on the television and letting your child relish it for hours together!
The chances are more that you remain engrossed in the heap of work and your child grabs some unmonitored exposure to the screen!
What your child can be exposed to:
- Violent and gruesome scenes
- Risky stunts
- Misleading and inappropriate content
- Sexual/ adult content
Co-watching, with some good adult supervision, is the only way to prevent the above mentioned. If your child uses portable screens like iPads and smartphones, pinch the settings well with maximum parental control options activated.
How can screen exposure affect your child’s brain and health?
Unmonitored screen usage is not the only hot potato; exposure to screens for longer duration attracts a multitude of short-term as well as long-term hitches.
Studies reveal that children who watch TV or smartphone for longer spans tend to experience weakening and thinning of their brain’s cortex; the cortex is the region of the brain responsible for all the decisive thinking and logical reasoning capabilities. Doesn’t it align well with your child’s low math scores? It also considerably reduces your child’s attention span and ability to concentrate. Too much of screen time hinders the overall development of child, inhibiting observation skills and fine motor skills.
Besides curbing the proper development of your child’s brain, TV time clings to several other menaces too.
- Obesity and other body weight issues
- Poor sleep quality
- Poor social and communication skills
- Linguistic troubles – inferior listening/ reading skills
- Mood disorders and behavioral issues
- Cognitive impairment
What does your child miss out while indulging in too much of screen time?
Excessive access to screen can limit your child in multiple ways. Children, under the age of 6, go through tremendous transformations; they evolve a lot through their child play. Exposure to screen restricts unstructured play time which is highly crucial in boosting the child’s creative and imagination skills.
Physical activity and outdoor play tend to be limited or nil. Social interactions with other children and adults do not feature much in your child’s life when screens have the upper hand; bonding with family members is also at stake!
How To Manage Screen Time Effectively?
Disquieting are the implications of screen exposure. However, due diligence when exercised at the right point can bring about a lot of changes.
Dr (Maj.) Namita Subash, founder of Health Nerds, talks on managing kids screens and technology and keeping the kids healthy and engaged. Dr. Namita is a physician, healthcare manager and mental health coach, having served the Indian Army and UNICEF previously.
More Tips on Screen Management:
We have some more fabulous screen management hacks from our readers, some amazing SuperMoms!
“We spend time doing things that we love, colors, nature walks and I try to incorporate learning of fine and gross motor skills.”
–Komal Arpan Joshi, a scientist/market researcher and a doting mother of a 2 year old girl.
“I divert my daughter to play with toys and switch off the TV. We do coloring hand prints, water play and many more activities. Yes, there is a lot of mess after the fun, but I don’t mind. I give turmeric water, beetroot concentrate, orange peel concentrate for natural colors as my little one tends to put everything in mouth. (I also use non-toxic paints when I sit along with her for the activity).”
–Aparna Krishna, blogger and content writer by profession; mommy of 18 month old baby girl who keeps mommy on toes making her fit and healthy.
“When I feel like they are watching too much TV, I turn it off from the kitchen with the remote without them noticing and tells them that the battery is dead and that we’ll replace it the next day. Works wonders with us. No crying and no fuss.”
–Rohitha Pusapati, full time concierge/ disaster relief worker aka mom of twins and a dog.
“If we follow a structured routine and plan for watching TV as a part of routine, for limited span, the children will not watch TV too much ; it’s upto the mothers as well, if we don’t watch too much, the children will not watch either.”
–Mita Pal, certified Special Educator from Rehabilitation Council of India and Course Coordinator of B.Ed. Special Education (Autism Spectrum Disorders), Pradip Centre for Autism Management, Kolkata.
“Blocks, white board and markers, Casio keyboard, skating, cycling and creative writing are activities in my home to keep my kids busy.”
–Deepa Garg, founder of CozyBichona and mother of a girl and a boy.
“We do one story and one game a day, besides walking the dog three times a day.”
–Aishwarya Sezhian, founder of Fun Learning, Special Educator, Teacher Trainer and full time mom to a bustling 4 year old girl.
“We have implemented a Screen Time Checklist at home.”
–Akila Sairam, an Early childhood education expert and mother of a 3 year old boy.