With many schools now operating under remote learning or hybrid models, students may find themselves staring at a screen for several hours a day. Combined with how often kids and teens use electronic devices already, it’s important for parents to give friendly reminders to take breaks in order to avoid eye strain and fatigue. Here are Tutor Doctor’s tips to help manage your child’s screen time in the age of COVID!
1. Encourage reading. Although many of us enjoy the convenience of e-books and tablet readers these days, there’s something special about turning the pages of a physical book! Picture books with vibrant illustrations are excellent reading material for younger kids, and teens may want to pick up a young adult novel. For reluctant readers, we’ve always been a fan of graphic novels and comic books to spark an interest in literature. Older students should also dive into any academic textbooks or reading assignments they may have coming up!
2. Remind them to take breaks. We all know it’s easy to “zone out” after a few hours in front of a screen, and it’s very helpful to have an external reminder to let you know when it’s time to stand up and stretch! Parents can give friendly reminders to their kids if they notice they’ve been using an electronic device for a lengthy period of time, and older students may even want to take advantage of calendar apps or alarms/timers to let them know when it’s time to take a break.
3. Encourage hands-on learning. There are plenty of highly engaging (and educational) activities out there that involve no screen use whatsoever! We’re a big fan of hands-on projects – building blocks, construction sets, and model kits are tons of fun for kids of all ages. Science kits and at-home experiments are also fun (parental supervision required!) and can make for a rewarding learning experience for kids. If you’re interested in turning your kitchen into a temporary science lab for an afternoon, check out our blog “Awesome Science Experiments You Can Try At Home!”
4. Inspire creativity. If your child is interested in art or musical expression, these are wonderful options for students who find themselves using an electronic device for most of their entertainment. Having a creative outlet is highly beneficial for our mental and emotional health, and this may be especially important right now with many of us at home “on lockdown” for most of the day. If your child is interested in pursuing an artistic or musical activity, encourage them to dive right in!
5. Exercise or physical activities. Sometimes the best way to avoid screens is to simply go outdoors! Whether you’d like to plan a family hike or you just want to sit in the yard for a while, any time outside is a good idea. If the weather is nice, this is a great option to combine with our first suggestion on this list – there’s nothing quite like going out on a beautiful day and reading a great book under a shady tree!