With technology increasingly demanding our children’s attention, its important to keep them safe, healthy and happy as they interact with the various modes of technology.
Here are 10 tips for healthy game play in your home…
Keep video games (on any device) out of the bedroom. We’re seeing a real increase in children with trouble sleeping, and addressing this is often as simple as removing screen lights from their place of rest. Not to mention the safety factor with what they’re exposed to online nowadays. Until our kids are older and have demonstrated a good understanding of how to stay safe online, we don’t allow doors to be closed when devices are on in any room, and no devices are allowed in the bedrooms.
Aim for more time doing physical activities than screen time. We like to use the 2:1 ratio – every minute of screen time is earned after 2 minutes of physical activity.
Have screen-free time before bed. Sleep professionals generally recommend turning off screens two hours before bedtime to help your body wind down.
Have an active break after 30 minutes. This works well with the 2:1 rule. Kids (and adults) really benefit from regularly leaving that seated position and giving their eyes something else to focus on. After every 30 mins of screen time, get your kids to do one hour of physical (or at least non-screen) play. If being physical isn’t an option, bring out the board games or arts and crafts!
Encourage safe playing techniques. Be mindful of posture (we get our kids to lie on their stomach on the floor, propped on their elbows when they use devices) and repetitive movements. Anyone with a smartphone knows that even our fingers and hands need regular breaks!
Be aware. Know what games your children are playing and monitor their use. Increased parental monitoring of screen use has been associated with reducing screen time, exposure to violent media and aggressive behaviour – while increasing hours of sleep, pro-social behaviour and school performance.
Set and enforce rules around technology use. Consider things like screen time, content, and age appropriateness.
Be the example. Model appropriate screen use for your kids – e.g. no phones at the dinner table or no screens one hour before bedtime. It’s just as important for YOU to have a balance in your screen time as it is for them!
Show them the importance of participation in real world activities. Join your kids in physical activities like bike riding or swimming, ask them to help you cook dinners etc. It’s also a great way to bond together and stay in the loop with your child’s interests.
Be actively involved in your child’s game play. Find games that help you interact as a family with and without devices!
We all try our best to maintain a healthy balance with the technology that’s now in our homes. If you need some ideas on how to keep your kids healthy both on and offline, give us a call! From early childhood to raising teenagers, we’ve seen it all firsthand in our office and we’re always happy to chat with you and share what we’ve learned along the way! Call us on (07) 578-0875 or book a Complimentary Chat today.