With back to school upon us, it’s time to switch gears from summer relaxation mode to over-scheduled school mode. For many parents that means reducing the amount of screen-time allowed over the summer. This can be a challenge for both parents and kids. Luckily there are lots of articles and tips out there on being mindful of technology use during the school year.
The ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) Blog put out a “resolution” article highlighting ways families can work together to come up with guidelines that work for both the parents and children. They recommend consistency with the family plan and keeping meal time and bedtime screen-free. Other recommendations include joining your child in their screen time and talking/asking questions after watching the show or video. This shows an active interest in your child’s interest. It may even spark an idea for a joint activity or project to do together. To read more in detail: https://blog.asha.org/2019/08/12/advising-families-on-screens-7-resolutions-for-the-new-school-year/
Another helpful tip from ASHA is to assess your family’s “Digital Diet”. You can use their tool here: https://youtu.be/UjSpzEVnNoQ to determine how much screen time each child is accessing and come up with strategies to reduce it as needed.
As parents we need to figure out how to balance the screen time without forgetting that our kids schooling continues to grow more and more technology-based. Many kids are starting to use math and reading programs on computers in their classroom as early as Kindergarten and first grade. Often these programs are accessible from home tablets and computers as well. Ask your teachers for information on how to access these programs or other programs that may be useful to your child’s academic programs. This can be a way to allow your child some screen time in a way that is also enhancing their learning. It also allows for more parent involvement and interaction.
The take home message from most articles and recommendations out there is to be mindful of technology use. It is impossible (and not necessary) to avoid it all together, but being mindful of how much it’s used, increasing interactive alternatives, and how to engage in technology together are positive ways to embrace it.