In Front of the Screen: How much is too much for kids during COVID-19
We have been relegated to our homes for a few weeks now. At first, it seemed like fun and we had lots to keep us occupied. The kids liked being off from school, but now they are going a bit stir crazy.
Going on their computer or iPad is a good way to read up on the news, play some electronic games, or to chat with family and friends. It occupies their time and keeps them “connected” during a time that can feel very isolating.
But when is screen time too much?And how do you get your kid to put it down and move on to something else when we must follow physical distancing.
Researchers report in JAMA Pediatrics that more screen time is linked to poorer progress on key developmental measures such as communication skills, problem solving and social interactions among young kids over time.
Here are 4 tips to limit screen time and pursue other activities during COVID-19:
- Don’t treat this situation as if it were a vacation. Most schools are conducting online classes, so make sure your child understands they must do their work before getting free time. Keeping them on a schedule is important, especially bedtimes.
- Give them a set amount of time to use their computer or iPad for leisure. They can play games with their friends or chat with a relative. It’s when they are spending hours in front of the screen that it becomes a problem.
- Set a specific time during the day to do a family activity, such as doing a puzzle, baking, watching a favorite movie or exercising indoors.
- Communication is important. Perhaps over dinner, talk with your kids about COVID-19 in a way they will understand and not frighten them. These are anxious times for all of us. A conversation to expand their knowledge about the virus will ease their tension.
“It’s such a hard time for everyone, and having a computer is essential right now for kids to do their schoolwork and for staying connected,” added DeFiccio. “But it’s important to step away from the screen throughout the day and get creative and keep busy as a family during what is a tough time for everyone.”
If you or your child need to talk to someone during this difficult time, our clinicians are available to help during this uncertain time via our telehealth services. Call our main number at 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632) for more information.