Kids nowadays are enjoying their smartphones, tablets, and computers. Through these gadgets, they can play, watch, and communicate with their friends. Besides this, your child can also discover new things that are both fun and knowledgeable with available learning apps online. Among all these activities, the latter part would indeed be what you want your child to do, right?
However, what if your child mainly uses their time playing games that are not useful at all? They even spend minutes or long hours just to entertain themselves with this game. You might not notice, but your kid might eventually have a screen addiction.
On the other hand, what if your kid loves playing intellectual and interactive games? Roblox, Minecraft, and Scratch are some of the mind-exercising kids coding apps that your child might love, too. But then, they might still use tons of screen time in playing it even if it is very beneficial for their mental and intellectual health.
Controlling a child’s gadget use is pretty challenging, but it is your responsibility to help them. In this case, are you ready to take the challenge of helping your child from screen addiction? What apps or activities are perfect for them? And how can you limit your kid’s screen time while assisting them to become digitally literate at the same time?
Here are some of the proven ways to encourage your child to prevent screen addiction.
Know your child's interests.
It is essential to determine your kid’s likes and hobbies to give them suitable apps or activities. Once you already know what interests them the most, you can now divert their attention from too much screen time. You will also get a chance to increase their other social and personal skills other than playing games.
Introduce project-based games.
Once you already know your kid’s wants, you can now think of fun and exciting games for them. You can let them use their gadgets for a particular period while using them for learning. For example, you can let them try PowerPoint slides to add pictures of their favourite cartoon characters. You can also try using the spreadsheet to play cashier games or teaching them how to manage their allowances.
Besides these activities using computer software, you can also let your child make their video. Let them do the storyline, help them record it, and guide them in editing the video. Afterwards, you can show your child how to upload it. Through this, you are giving them a chance to use the gadgets wisely and creatively.
Other than that, you can try other project-based tasks such as building your own game through Minecraft or Roblox. In this project, they will learn kids are coding while enjoying the fun and thrilling games online.
Try coding and STEM-related toys.
Some parents even purchase educational coding toys and STEM-related games for their children. You can also try Lego, Circuit Maze, Nintendo Switch, puzzles, and other tech and engineering toys. These board games do not require too much screen time, unlike online games, which help you control your kids’ screen addiction. Additionally, your kid can still learn coding and other skills like planning, designing, creating, building, and developing structures. These tech toys sometimes involve smartphone-controlled tanks or circuit based puzzle games. Other than code learning for kids, it can also teach engineering and maths to your kid.
Talk about your kid’s digital footprint and digital safety.
You can help your child with the world of technology by explaining to them about their digital footprint. Once they understand the concept of a digital footprint, they will be more careful about downloading and uploading software and applications online. It will also warn them by providing personal information and communication with online strangers. So, whether they are using social media or playing games, they know how to conduct correctly.
Establish parental control.
You cannot avoid gadgets totally, but you can lessen the time of use. Some parents set the timer of every app use. It turns off the game at a specified time. Moreover, it also stops the child from accessing shops and internet sites you banned. Once the program also detects your child’s age, it only shows suitable apps for their ages. Besides this application, you can also adjust the screen time on your child’s tablet. It warns the kid that they have reached the quota. Furthermore, the parental control system can also let your turn on and off your child’s screen using your screen. Through this, you are really on-hand controlling their screen time and accessibility.
Let your child create their own screen time rules.
Give your child some slack, too, in choosing their screen time. Let them plan their everyday schedule. In this case, your kid will understand that there is time for everything: for learning, for doing household chores, completing assignments, and even using gadgets. So, ask your child to make a list of his schedule, encourage them to have a lot more time to work on worthwhile things but give some time for relaxation. Afterwards, review his plan and make some adjustments if needed.
You may also suggest to your child that you can have big chunks per week. For example, three solid hours a week each Saturday. It will motivate him to do all the tasks for the week and look forward to every Saturday. But when they prefer daily bits, you can have one hour a day.
However, if your child needs the gadgets for studying, make sure it still counts as screen time. It will help them use their time wisely while holding their devices.
Establish a tech-free zone.
Some parents assign technology-free zones at home. For example, no one must bring smartphones to the dining area, kitchen, or bedroom. There are only places they can play, like the living room. So, if they hang out in their rooms, they can play board games, puzzles, and cards with their siblings or with you.
Make tradeoffs for screen time.
You can also use screen time as a reward for your child’s accomplishment. For example, they will receive extra screen time if they finish cleaning up their room’s mess. They can also watch an additional episode of their favourite TV cartoon if they pass their exams. You can also let them help you in the kitchen for free 30-minute games online.
Through all these reminders, you must be consistent. You must strictly follow the rules you told them to obey all your rules, too. Other than that, you can also be an excellent example for your child if you also limit yourselves in using gadgets. Most importantly, you can be the leader and organiser of the fun and exciting activities to enhance their skills.
However, besides these things, you can also invest your time and money for additional after school care and extracurricular activity for kids like the kids coding school, programming classes for kids, and robotics class for kids. These activities will further limit your child to unhealthy online games instead of transforming their gadgets into a worthy learning experience.
Treasure Hunt. This activity is great for kids to practice following instructions. Treasuring hunting includes directions, questions, and challenges allowing your kid to solve it independently. It also enables them to showcase algorithms and logic while kids are solving the mystery. Through treasure hunting, kids would understand the importance of instructions similar to how computers follow codes to perform tasks.
Solve a Maze. You still input coding lessons using maze games. You may create a pathways maze inside or outside your home. It could be made from blocks or even just a drawn maze using chalks or colours. After preparing the maze, it helps if your child is blindfolded, making the game more exciting.
During the game, one could act as the computer (walk through the maze) and the programmer (dictates the direction to the computer). The computer needs to follow all the instructions from the programmer until they reach the endpoint.
Through this simple activity, your kids would understand how algorithms work. If the direction is wrong, you will achieve the expected result. So, they need to solve it by debugging the code or instruction.
Story Sequence. For indoor and even bedroom activities, kids can try story sequences. It helps them narrate stories in a proper series and order. It also practices them to tell the events one at a time, from a single picture to another. In this simple activity, your kid would learn the essence of sequencing and a systematic approach in coding and life.
Puzzles. Tons of puzzles are available in the market. It includes shaped puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and other mechanical puzzles. These puzzles will teach your kids how to solve problems depending on their observation. So, it includes analysis, logic, and computational thinking. Other than that, kids will also understand how they need to act to solve the puzzle. Like how coding works, your child would have the resilience to try things just to complete the whole goal.
Building blocks. You can also introduce coding through building blocks. It helps your kid learn how to build things, including codes and programs. Like the visual-based coding programs, building blocks also require a child to connect, arrange, and maintain the quality of each block. Moreover, kids also enhance their creativity and building skills using these blocks.
While playing these blocks, you may incorporate lessons like cause-and-effect to teach your kid immediate action and reaction lessons. It is highly recommended to get familiarised by a child coder.
Games with maths. Kids would also enjoy unplugged coding using games and activities. If you add math concepts, your kid will improve their math skills, including logic, analysis, and critical thinking. Some math challenges include cashier toys, baking instruction with measuring activities, and even board games like Snakes and Ladders.
Using these simple games, your child learns how to use abstract thinking to actual application. Thus, it will help them easily use coding languages and apply them to a computer.
Worksheets. Instead of using gadgets, your child can also try coding and robotics using worksheets. Some books and modules offer coding and STEM activities, helping kids learn maths and computer sciences. These worksheets also showcase samples, tutorials, and step-by-step instructions for your kid to try. Besides that, some worksheets also highlight coding concepts like variables, loops, and branching.
Camps. Children can also enjoy coding activities without any electronics through kids coding bootcamps. These coding camps for kids include different tasks and challenges. It may help kids learn how to share ideas with other students, enabling them to strengthen life skills. Aside from that, coding camps instructors can also guide your kids to become digital literate.
However, kids coding camps also include coding tasks using gadgets. But then, they will not just do invaluable activities, rather enriching lessons about coding. In this case, kids will not face screen addiction because they are genuinely learning to use their gadgets.
Prevents Screen Addiction and Divert to Coding Lessons
Too much screen time can affect your child's overall development. It may lead to physical, mental, and emotional health. It could also result in poor academic performances. So, as parents, you should make time and efforts to prevent these issues right away.
You may follow the suggested steps and activities above and begin diverting their attention to educational tasks like coding. Other than that, you may also find different ways to help them focus more on learning rather than just playing and watching online.
Remember, it's your child's future that is at stake. So, you must take action and help them reduce screen time.
Do you want your child to learn during their screen time?
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