Tips for parents to limit screen time for children during school vacation - Hindustan Times

Tips for parents to limit screen time for children during school vacation

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
May 19, 2023 04:55 PM IST

Want to moderate your child's use of electronic gadgets and devices during school vacation? Here are tips for parents to limit screen time for kids

Screen time for kids is a topic of concern for many parents and caregivers but screen time guidelines for school-age children (6-12 years old) can vary and it is important to find a balance that suits your child's individual needs. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests establishing consistent limits on screen time, which can include setting specific time limits for weekdays and weekends or designating certain times of the day as screen-free, such as during meals or before bedtime.

Tips for parents to limit screen time for children during school vacation (Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels)
Tips for parents to limit screen time for children during school vacation (Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rekha Sachdej, Elementary School Principal at Canadian International School in Bengaluru, shared, “Summer holidays and vacation time from school are meant to give students the opportunity to connect with family members, explore new interests, and have some downtime away from their studies and screens. Moderating the use of electronic gadgets and devices during this time is equally important. Alternative activities include encouraging reading more books, writing in journals, scrapbooking regarding their travels and even having time to do nothing and be bored.”

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She revealed, “Boredom can lead to creativity which is an important skill to develop to be successful in school and beyond. It’s important for parents to ensure that their children have a combination of planned and unplanned time to help them establish healthy behaviors as well as learn to entertain themselves. Including physical activities as well as activities that incorporate creative thinking can keeps kids active, develop new skills, and maybe spark a new passion.”

Dr Sowmya R, Consultant-Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus at Sankara Eye Hospital in Bengaluru, advised, “With the season of holidays and plenty of time in hand for kids it's time to sort a time table for kids. We have seen surge in onset and progression with covid and children being locked indoors plus the online classes, the same would happen during holidays.”

She listed a few suggestions for kids and parents:

  • It's the near activity which causes a possible risk for short sightedness in children and so it's important to restrict their near activities be it gadgets or novel reading etc.
  • Let them use TV or large screens from a distance for viewing cartoon shows or movies with a limit of 1 hour per day
  • Absolute restriction to near gadget such as mobiles, tablets or laptops
  • Have a balanced day for kids with a mix of outdoor and indoor activities
  • Encourage then to play outside especially in morning before 10 or after 3 to 4 in evening
  • Take care of general health of child which can have bearing on eye health too
  • As the age old saying goes, early to bed and early to rise is always going to be useful for overall health of child
  • Help them sort their time with summer classes or family time sessions or group activities in your apartments.

Bringing her expertise to the same, Niru Agarwal, Trustee at Greenwood High International School, said, “With plenty of spare time in hand during holidays, parents are definitely worried about kids spending excessive screen time during the break. Our world is dominated by technology and it’s not likely to reverse itself and the current generation has a wide range of technology to engage in. While an excess of this has to be regulated, we live in a time where the non-use of technology is not possible. It is better to train them in ways that they use technology optimally as the future of education lies in the familiarity one has with the same.”

She recommended, “It is better for parents to set a screen time limit for their children and this way, children will know how much screen time they are allowed and are engaged in activities that will help them grow during summer vacation. Parents can work with them to develop engaging and educational projects and at the same time help them learn new skills and have fun at the same time. It’s important for parents to be aware of this growing issue and hence they have to set a good example for the children themselves by following the house screen time rules.”

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