Published by Neha
4 months ago
When I look around, I see kids using mobile or watching TV. They are so glued to it that they are least concerned or bothered about what’s happening in their environment. Parents always complain that their child watches mobile all the time. I sometimes wonder if the reason kids use mobile phone is their fault.
Isn’t this the same thing that happens to us adults, we are on our screens all the time, trying to gather as much information about the world as possible. We forget to look around, talk to our kids, or in fact just enjoy the moment. The question is what is happening to kids and adults alike? Where are we heading as humans?
Parents come to me, asking for advice on how they should reduce their child’s screen time. So when I ask them if they (parents) sit idle or on phone when they are free? The answer is always as expected, on mobile.
If you want to reduce the screen time of your child, first reduce it yourself. Kids always learn by copying you (modeling), what you do is what they will like to do. Kids are always curious about the world around them and it’s their bad luck that what they see around them is mobile in everyone’s hand.
You can always give a choice to your child if they want to watch mobile or play with their games or toys. If the child chooses later, it is well and good. But if he chooses a mobile, it’s about respecting the child’s choice. You then need to tell the child that I respect your decision, I’m with you but as mobile is bad for eyes you can watch it for so and so hours. This way the child will also feel that he is considered important and is included in the decision. If you start giving respect to your child’s decisions, he will respect yours too. And if this continues, he will even listen to you when you consider it not the best time to watch mobile.
Kids are often used to their routines, so if you will fix the time and hours, they will follow through. And this is something that you can inculcate from the beginning.
For example, for watching mobile, the time is fixed in the afternoon for half an hour then at night for half hour. This way, they will understand the pattern. If sometimes the child demands a mobile without a fixed schedule, you have two options. The first is to see the child’s mood, if he is cranky or in a bad mood then give mobile for some time. This way he will be calm and then you can give him some time and ask the child about his mood. This way he will feel understood. Second, is to observe that if the behavior is repetitive then put your foot down by calmly explaining that this can’t go on forever.
We as parents also behave in discipline for some days and then leave the schedules due to circumstances or situations around and kids tend to take advantage of it. If we are clear and firm in our decisions, the child will understand and won’t take advantage. Don’t keep high expectations that my child won't watch mobile. Kids tend to see their peers having phones, and knowing all about the latest gadgets, and games, so if you pressurize them to not have one, they will feel left out and out of the league with their friends which will create a feeling of inferiority in kids. Providing them with a phone (for some fixed time) without any demand creates a positive effect on the child’s mind.
Slowly there will be self-regulation or self-discipline for taking the mobile, he won’t take it any time of the day nor throw tantrums or ask for more time. There will be less power struggle between parents and kids and more understanding between them.