With many parents recognizing the numerous benefits of mobile devices for their families, it’s equally important to remember the importance of screen-free time. Research has found that too much screen time can have a negative impact on children, affecting their sleep and eating habits, among other things. Parents can demonstrate to their kids the importance of taking time away from tablets, televisions, and mobile devices. Here are some of the ways that screen-free time benefits the whole family:
More quality time together
If there’s one thing that parents wish they had more of, it’s time in the day. There simply doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done and to still have a chance to relax and catch up with kids. By having screen-free time, families can truly enjoy more quality time together. It can be for short stretches each day, or for several hours once a week. Parents should find out what approach to time without screens works best for their family.
More meaningful meal times
When schedules allow, it’s good to have the whole family sit down for meals together. Dinner time is the perfect opportunity to catch up with one another and talk. Setting a rule that no one will look at their cell phones during dinner is an easy way to ensure that everyone is engaging at the table. Make mealtime a meaningful part of an otherwise busy day by setting phones aside for an hour and turning off the television.
A chance to reconnect
Daily life can be very hectic for families with kids. Between work, school, sports, and social lives, it can be tough to stay connected. Using a family app to keep in touch throughout the day is a great way to keep each other in the loop. However, quality time together without mobile devices also gives parents and kids a chance to reconnect on a deeper level. It may only be for a few hours each week, but it’s time that families can use to enjoy each other’s company.
Time for other interests
With phones and tablets set aside, both kids and parents will have time to focus on their other interests. Kids can discover new hobbies and pursue different activities. They can engage in sports like golf, extracurricular activities and clubs at school, and develop new interests that don’t involve the internet. Cell phones, tablets, and laptops are great tools to have and use, but they don’t need to be the central focus for fun and entertainment.
Cell phones, tablets, and laptop screens strain the eyes, but they also have an impact on the human brain, too. Staring at a screen elevates dopamine and adrenaline levels in the body, similar to some drugs. Give your eyes and your brain a health break by taking time away. This is especially important for young children with developing brains and bodies.
Consider creating rules about screen-free time for your family. You’ll enjoy the many benefits that it provides, and have more time to focus on your children. Even just a few hours each week will have a positive impact on everyone.
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