Here is what the International Play Association has to say on the subject of screen time:
Most families want to find a reasonable balance between time spent on screens and time for other types of play and activities, including family time.
If you have access to screens at home during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, they can be a great way for your child to:
- keep in touch with friends, school, social groups and family
- share experiences, concerns and ideas
- have a laugh and enjoy themselves
- get absorbed in a game that takes their full attention
- take part in creative activities
- access information, news and advice
It’s understandable to relax some of the usual rules in the current crisis. But spending all day on screens can have negative effects, as well as providing your child with important opportunities and experiences.
For example, your child may find it difficult to get to sleep, or they may miss out on other activities.
Some ways to help your child find a healthy balance:
- show you understand and are interested. Let them know you understand that playing on screens isn’t all good or bad. You could try playing some of their games, or get them to teach you about apps they like
- keep moving. Encourage your child to take regular breaks, rather than sitting still or lying down for too long. They can walk around, and do star jumps or press-ups to increase their heart rate
- get outside. If possible, encourage them to get some outside exercise
- look out of the window. It’s good for your child’s eyes to change focus by looking at the horizon or distant buildings
- try keeping your mealtimes screen-free. You’ll have time to talk and appreciate your food
- try to avoid screens before bedtime. This will make it easier to fall asleep, and to get up in the morning
- plan together. Discuss with your child how long they feel it’s ok to use screens each day. Get them to make a plan, and ask what would help them stick to it
- remember: Older children might enjoy doing things they did when they were younger or playing with favourite old toys. This can give them a sense of reassurance and security
Some advice for grown-ups:
- try to avoid repeatedly checking updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Try making a conscious decision to turn off or mute notifications. And try only checking the news a couple of times a day
And just remember:
Kinsale Youth Support Services is still available for YOU, contact 085-8725789. We are operating remotely to support all our young people and families.