Recreational

10 Parenting Tips to Encourage Your Teenagers into a Balanced Screen Time

Using electronic gadgets and the Internet has become more of a necessity today than just a past time. People of various generations and ages are doing it because of communication, information and diversion. You don’t even get surprised when you see the members of your family in a single room not talking with each other but rather busily tapping on their smartphones. It’s not shocking because it’s the usual thing nowadays. Nonetheless, know that even if that’s the case, it’s still very important to practice and promote balanced screen time.  

Teenagers are among the categories of people who are using electronic devices most of the time and for long periods of hours a day. Common reasons are distant learning, chatting, online series or movies, social media and video games. While online schooling is inevitable and online entertainment is part of their lifestyle, these teenagers should know the importance of a balanced screen time. Some are ignorant of it. Some care less. Others are hard-headed. And so parents are the ones to help these youngsters have a better life in front and away from the keyboard. 

Parents, bear in mind that too much exposure to screens is unhealthy. The eyes need to rest, and the body needs to move. The content that your children learn from social media should also be safe. Responsible usage is vital. Your teenagers definitely need to have balanced screen time, and here are 10 parenting tips that will help you encourage them into it. 

1. Agree On Family Rules.

The major authority at home belongs to parents. As the heads of the troop, set family rules that are just and clear. Agree on these with your teenagers, and stand firm that everyone should abide by these decrees. Put specific instructions for gadgets, such as the amount of time spent on them, excluding school and work purposes.

Even when your teenagers think that they’re “big” enough for house rules, establishing these is helpful. It would be better if you start implementing these before their teenage years. Parents who teach their babies to tap tablets before saying their first word actually suffer. That’s why if in the future or now, you have children with ages ranging from toddler to pre-teen, introduce these house rules to easily make it their lifestyles as they grow up. 

Designate consequences for violating these rules. They don’t have to be severe, but see to it that they’re enough to make all of you obey. When you’re thinking that setting gadget usage rules might be ‘too much’, recall this: Just as government laws are created for a better country, house rules are built for a better family life. Yes, these aren’t only for your teens but for the whole home.

2. Encourage Them To Set Timers For Screen Breaks.

In school, there are recess and lunch breaks, so students and teachers can fuel up and eat as they need. In between subjects, there are transition periods for students and teachers to rest a bit; they’re like 15-minute breathers. The mind has to relax; teachers’ voices get exhausted and legs get tired from standing up the whole time as well.

Similarly, teenagers need screen breaks. Regardless of whether it’s an online class or just leisure time, they shouldn’t use their devices continuously. Pauses are needed. Encourage them to set timers as alerts to take breaks. Every 20 minutes, the eyes should look away from screens. When they’re too focused on digital learning materials, their eyes might hurt, so they need this break. When they’re just playing video games or watching online series, teens shouldn’t forgo breaks.  

3. Let Them Engage In Active Sports.

To boost a balanced screen time, your teens should be redirected to other things too. When they’re using their gadgets, they’re sitting down most of the time, and that’s not very good. Their physical activity is insufficient, thus, their body might experience adverse effects as they grow older.

Let them engage in active sports as another hobby aside from screen-related pursuits. Make them stand up, go outdoors and sweat off. Exercising helps teens grow livelier and resist risks of illnesses. Sports allow them to curtail sedentary lifestyles brought about by unsafe screen time.  

4. Assign Them Household Chores.

Kids should help parents at home. Assign them household chores, so they can veer away from screens. They cannot play video games while washing the dishes, sweeping the floor or folding bedsheets. This isn’t simply keeping them away from gadgets but also teaching them essential life skills. What’s more, by making teens do these house tasks, parents can lessen their own duties or assist kind house helpers, if any. 

5. Cook Mouth-watering Meals.

Lure your teens into standing up from their PC tables and running to the dining table! Cook mouth-watering meals that they won’t be able to refuse. Prepare their favorite homemade dishes, full of magnetizing aroma, that even in the middle of their game, they’ll leave their playmates to eat that drool-worthy chow! 

6. Designate A Family Gadget Counter For Bedtime Use.

One of the main causes of lack of sleep, involuntary and voluntary, among teens is gadget use. Some stay up all night playing online games or watching series. Others are downloading or uploading stuff. Social media takes up a big portion of time. Bedtime is wrecked. 

To employ better bedtime habits for your teenagers, designate a gadget counter for the whole family. This is for bedtime use, so it’s located in your family bedroom or in a mutually utilized room if your teenagers have individual bedrooms. Doing this prevents your teens from unhealthy bedtime habits because they don’t see their phones, thus won’t be tempted to reach them. 

Some parents might think this is too much, but when you realize the lengthy periods of screen time your teenagers have, those rules aren’t even a half of the screen time. The latter is definitely what’s too much – it’s unhealthy. 

7. Exercise With Your Teens.

Make your teenagers move around with you. Exercise with them at home or in a nearby gym. Jog or take a walk in the park. This is a great parent-and-child bonding. Do it regularly.  

8. Allow Them To Meet Face-to-face With Good Friends.

Teenage years is the time children are building and maintaining a lot of social relationships. For some, they spend a lot of time on gadgets because of chatting online with their friends. To lessen their screen time, allow them to also meet those chums face to face. Make sure you know them and that they’re good and trusted buddies. 

9. Catch Up And Converse With Each Other.

Healthy communication is key to a healthy family relationship. Catch up with your teens. Know what’s up in their school and in their personal life, such as their new hobbies, opinions on things, feelings and whatnot. Have heart-to-heart conversations from time to time, so both of you can reduce screen time. Furthermore, that’s how you get closer to each other!

10. Set Yourself As A Good Example.

Parents are children’s role models, no matter how old your teenagers get. Set yourself as a good example. Even parents today spend so much time on gadgets, for work and/or for entertainment, but you, as a parent, be responsible too. Encourage your teens to imitate your healthy lifestyle!

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THE FAMILY’S BALANCED SCREEN TIME

People are so used to staying in front of desktops and laptops and to spending hours on phones and tablets, that they often forget the need to stay away from them too. Screen breaks are a must to pave the way for other productive activities that can improve your teenagers’ well-being. Talking about physical health, they’re necessary for maintaining good eye health and for defeating bodily inactivity. 

Although social media has become an everyday part of life, screen time can be made into a wholesome lifestyle for you and your teenagers. All you need is to apply balance, and discipline is the top ingredient for its consistency. 

Keep in mind that you don’t always have to get angry at home for the teens to practice healthy screen time. Instead, you can think of awesome ways to invite them into voluntarily leaving their gadgets, unless they’re doing school tasks of course. Work as a team to develop efficient gadget usage as a family. Begin encouraging your teenagers into a balanced screen time now!

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Nicole Pore

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