“Mommy! I want to watch Youtube NOW!” yelled my 3-year old daughter the moment she wakes up in the morning.
She has been hooked to the television and her gadgets ever since we’ve had an internet connection and it got worse when she received a tablet as a gift on her birthday.
At first, I was okay with it because it keeps her busy long enough for me to do the things I need to do like take a long bath or catch-up on the piled household chores. Also, she would pick up some conversation ideas or even an accent from the channels she watched, which in a way, I find a little educational.
But over time, I noticed that she interacts less and less with us and would rather watch or be with her tablet the whole day than go out and play with her friends.
This worries me a lot so I decided to take action and manage the situation.
Here’s what I usually do:
- Create a routine
I plan my day the night before and sometimes discuss it with my child and make a checklist like what activities and learning materials we will do for the next day and what food we will try to cook. This helps me manage my time between my daughter and doing other things like work and the household chores.
- Don’t fully charge gadgets
I charge her gadget to at least 20% battery, this will give her more or less 30-minutes of use. Also, turning off the internet when nobody else is using it so she will not be tempted to use gadgets.
- Let her be bored
Creativity comes from boredom. True enough, I let my child use her imagination and have her come up with her own games and activities. From reading and playing pretend to inventing stuff from cardboard boxes and doing chores, there are a lot of things a bored kid can actually do.
- Physical activities
Aside from play, I let my kid help in cooking and other household chores. This is one way to make her active throughout the day and let her learn some life skills and values by doing so.
- Reward System
This is usually my go-to strategy especially when she is having tantrums or when I want things to get done. I reward her some screen-time whenever she finishes her activities or help me with chores or did something good to others,
As a first time mom, everything I do is all trial and error. There are times when it works and there are days that just throws my patience out the window. Thus, I seek guidance from parenting books and websites, and I am open for thoughts and suggestions on how to manage screen-time and how to raise a child, in general.
Though I still let my child have some screen-time, I strictly limit her exposure to an hour in a day as much as possible and always with supervision. In the end, the goal is to put in more social interaction in her everyday activities and surround herself with people to actually play and mingle with.