5 Tips for Healthy Screen Time
Our kids are growing up as digital natives, and it’s clear that screens are here to stay. Most of us have heard about the negative effects of too much screen time – from depression to sleep deprivation to childhood obesity – so how can we teach our kids to use technology in healthy ways? Check out these simple tips to help your family build a healthy relationship with the technology we use every day.
Turn off screens before bedtime.
Engaging in screen time right before bed can disrupt kids’ bedtime routine and sleep cycles, cutting into time that kids should spend getting much-needed sleep. Gather up phones, tablets, and laptops an hour before bedtime to give your family a chance to disconnect and relax. If possible, consider keeping screens out of the bedroom altogether.
Encourage productive screen time.
Not all screen time is created equal – when setting limits on screen time, it’s important to distinguish between productive screen time (like for learning apps, video-chatting grandparents, or homework) and time that’s spent playing games or watching videos. Promote screen time that lets your child learn a skill that’s applicable in real life!
“We’re supportive of his [Tynker] screen time because he is creating, not just staring at a computer screen” – Dana, Featured Maker Gavin’s mom
Let them earn screen time.
Show your child that chores come before screen time (and motivate them to complete said chores!) by letting them earn extra screen time. Bonus points if they used their earned screen time productively, like to code on Tynker.
“Our deal is, because he likes it so much, we tell him, ‘If you get yourself ready for the day, if your lunch is made, if your bed is made, you’re dressed, ready for school, dishes are put away, you can have 20 minutes of Tynker before you get on the bus.’” – Heather, Featured Maker Zac’s mom
Emphasize real-life friendships.
Remind your child that friends they meet online are not a replacement for real friends. Arrange playdates with classmates – we’ve even seen kids get together to code with Tynker in a group! Try our 6-Step Brain Bootcamp for a fun brain/body activity circuit that your child and friends can do inside or outside.
“What’s really cool is that a lot of his friends at school enjoy Tynker. They’ll sit around a little picnic table outside of their class and get together and start coding!” – Mike, Featured Maker James’s dad
Lead by example.
Last but not least, remember that the best way to reinforce healthy digital habits is to model them yourself. Show your kids how to engage in screen time in a way that doesn’t interfere with their other interactions – limit time spent surfing through social feeds or turn off alerts when spending time with family and friends – so that they’ll learn to do the same!
It’s easy to monitor your child’s screen time and coding mastery with your Tynker Parent Dashboard! Sign up for a Pro plan today to accelerate your child’s coding education as they engage in healthy, productive screen time.