With kids demanding every strand of your attention, how do you enjoy some much-needed ‘me’ time without turning to the screens as a quick-fix?
Trying to ditch the screens.
Screens have become commonplace in the 21st Century and our children are no stranger to them. Nowadays, you can find almost anything on the net from entertainment to information which is why the screens can keep our little ones occupied for hours on end.
For that reason, whenever we need some time to ourselves – be it for work or for some time alone – the screens have become our emergency exit. It’s simple solution after all. If we need to keep the children quiet for a good hour or so, why not whip out the ol’ tablet and put some Paw Patrol on?
The dilemma that most of us parents face in this digital age is whether we should give our children screen time in exchange for some of that coveted ‘me’ time. Screen time has become a hot button-issue in this day and age and we’re bound to feel some degree of guilt whenever we hand our kids some device time. On one hand, we don’t want them to become screen zombies, forever hungry for their next digital dose. However, we do want to keep them quiet and occupied while we carve out some time for ourselves. As with most predicaments though, there is a middle ground to be found.
Meeting in the middle
The reality we parents are probably aware of is that screen time is here to stay. There’s no denying it, so the next time you afford your child some screen time, don’t beat yourself up. It’s just part and parcel of growing up in 2020 and beyond. What you can do is work around it.
Firstly, it’s important to note the recommended screen time durations. According to the World Health Organisation, these are the screen time guidelines parents should follow:
- 0-2 year olds: no screen time at all
- 2-5 year olds: 1 hour of screen time a day
- 5 and above: A little more screen time can be introduced, but moderately. No more than a few hours of screen time a day.
Once you’ve established the duration of screen time your child is allowed, you can then work on the sort of content that he/she is consuming in order to make that time productive. There’s a lot of enriching content that can teach kids new skills or broaden their knowledge – from language learning to kids documentaries. The next time you give your child screen time, instead of switching on another episode for them to stare mindlessly at, choose some educational content for them to enjoy!
Take advantage of your child’s allotted screen time and focus on what you want to do for yourself during that time. Be it a short online yoga session, a bath or a meeting, you can use that time for yourself too! What about the kids though? How am I going to make sure they won’t go overboard and extend their screen time?
The plano app can help you do just that. You can use the plano app to set device times on your child’s phone. For instance, you can schedule no-device times. If you intend to allow your child to use his/her phone from say, 1pm-2pm, you can set no-device times after 2pm. Your child won’t be able to use the phone after that. The app also reminds your child to take a break from the screen every 30 minutes with device break reminders. During this time, your child won’t be able to use his/her device for 1-2 minutes and can take a quick eye break from the screens.
Your ‘me’ time is essential and for your children, screen time is here to stay. You can take advantage of the time that your children are allowed to spend on the screens to do the things that you want to get done. However, it’s critical you set the boundaries straight from the beginning and be aware of the sort of content your children are consuming. That way, you’ll be able to find that balance and moderate screen time while finding time for yourself.