Nowadays, we are accustomed to seeing children - from toddlers to teenagers, glued on their mobile phones, be it at home, while strolling in public, or having a meal in restaurants.

Many parents resort to this measures to keep their children occupied and get them to "behave", oblivious to the fact that it may cause health and behavioural problems later in the child's life.

Are you one of the parents struggling to wean your child off screen time?

Perhaps these three Cs could help:

1) Child

It is up to the parent to take control of your child's screen habits. Lay out a schedule or time table, detailing the number of hours your children are allowed to be on screen, be it watching TV, playing computers, or on handheld devices.

The time table must separately mention the schedule of online classes they have follow (eg during the COVID-19 lockdown), along with the slot allocated for cartoons and movies, among others. That way, the adults of the house will get to monitor their kids' screen time and also keep tabs on their viewing habits.

2) Content

Please make sure your children are viewing content that are suitable for their age. Violence and explicit content are a big NO as children are often scared or influenced by such media. Keep channels that contain such content under a lock that only adults can use.

There are always cartoons, family movies, game shows and Disney movies that the parents can also view with their children for quality family time.

3) Context

It is not easy to disengage a child's attention once they are glued on to the screen. There are ways to do this, however. For instance, ask a child to perform a task or engage in a conversation with him/her while they are engrossed on the screen. This way, they can get a few-minutes break from the screen, which is good for their eye health.

If you see the need to further reduce your child's screen time, you can also introduce him/her to other hobbies, such as reading book, painting, dancing or playing a music instrument. Children are always a bundle of energy so another option is to let them play outside, even if it is outside the house compound for a few minutes, so that they can channel their energy towards that cause.

This is not to say parents should rob their children of screen time altogether. Let them watch or indulge in their favourite programmes, but make sure it is done in moderation and the type of content they view is with adult supervision.

Source: Times of India
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