When was the last time you had a meal without holding your phone in the other hand or watching TV. Seems like long time ago, right? Screen-free time almost seems like an impossibility. When we, as parents, are unable to shake off our social-media addiction, can we expect the same from our kids? The constant pings of notifications, the inexplicable urge to scroll through the vacay pics of your friends, makes us role models of a different kind for our kids. This is one of the emerging parenting trends in recent years.
But is screen-free parenting even possible? Is there a way when we can ensure our kids are engaged in activities that don’t involve a gadget? Turns out, yes there is a way.
Why gadgets at all?
These days, with only one or two kids, we try to go overboard in trying to keep our kids happy at all times. In this age of instant gratification, we usually jump to provide just about everything that they ask for. Even the child is bored, an I-Pad or your mobile is often a convenient way to pass the time. You come back hassled from work and these gadgets give you momentary succour.
Allow the child to get bored: Allowing a child to figure out how to amuse himself/herself is an exercise in creativity. The child might go through a series of trials and error to find out games and activities to engage himself. But sometimes, playing all alone is no fun. Take out some time to play(sometimes silly) with your child.
It is scientifically backed: According to studies, exposing a child under 5 to extended screen-time can lead to hampering of his cognitive abilities. As tech parents, sometimes convenience rules over facts and we just give in.
Why screen-free parenting?
We as parents, usually start innocently by showing nursery rhymes or cartoons on our phones and I-pads to make meal times easier and fuss-free. This becomes a habit and before we know it, meal times and play times mean spending them in front of a screen.
Tantrums and Meltdowns: Once we inadvertently make our kids addicted to this very damaging habit, we have to be prepared for serious tantrums and meltdowns when these gadgets are taken away.
Where to draw the line? While it may not be entirely possible to keep your child screen-free, but a restriction on the time spent surely helps. Make a note of the time your child feels bored like after he comes back from school. You can engage him by asking about his day or something funny that happened to you. You can read a few stories together, go the park, get crafting etc. When you think of ways, you’ll get more clarity.
While it is easier said than done, you should take the process gradually and be prepared to have a lot of patience. Sometimes, you might have moments of self-doubt when you think if you are deliberately depriving your child of knowledge, trust your instincts. When you go about exploring, you will be amazed at the different opportunities that will ensure a screen-free parenting.