4 Ways Reducing YOUR Screen Time Will Benefit Your Kids

Woman in living room watching television
Image via iStock

There are plenty of reasons to limit screen time for kids, but what message are we sending when we tell our kids “no” while flipping through our smartphones? Here are a few reasons that cutting your own screen time will not only help you, but it will also benefit your kids.

Image via Flickr/ Mike Baird

1. You’ll be more present—and happier.

Have you ever tested this one? I’ve found a distinct difference in my mood when my phone is in my hand versus when I put it away. Yes, it feels uncomfortable not to be connected at first, but it is when I am trying to do a “quick” email check or scroll through my social media accounts that I tend to snap at my kids to just give me a minute.

Putting your devices away for set periods of time allows you to focus and enjoy your kids. And, showing your kids that they rank over your Facebook feed is great leverage when they’re older and try to text during dinner!

Father Using Mobile Phone On Bus Journey With Son
Image via iStock

2. You can model proper eye contact

Eye contact is a difficult skill for kids to master in the digital era. Shannan Younger of Tween Us references Pamela Druckerman of Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting:

“The French believe that when children make eye contact and exchange in a straightforward and polite encounter, they see they are not the only ones with feelings and needs.”

Aside from personal and professional etiquette, kids today need extra help with learning how their words impact others and developing awareness and empathy.

{ MORE: 8 Top Picks of Favorite Books for Toddlers }

Image via Flickr/ Mike Baird

3. You'll stay healthy

Eye contact isn’t the only thing that your kids need modeled. Show them that you value taking care of yourself and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A 2011 study showed that “individuals who spent two or more hours each day in front of the screen had a 125% increased risk of CVD [cardiovascular disease events] compared with those who spent fewer than two hours of leisure time before a screen.”

Even when other factors such as BMI, smoking, and other lifestyle factors were removed, the amount of time spent in front of the screen outside of work was still found to be significant.

So get away from the screen and take your family on that evening walk instead. Sticking around to meet those grandchildren is good for everyone!

Image via Flickr/ Ed Yourdon

4. It will get us back into books—all of us

Studies show that homes where value is placed on books—where they are visible and easily accessed—have higher literacy rates.

Jeff McQuillan wrote in The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions that “an analysis of a national data set of 100,000 U.S. school children found that access to printed materials—and not poverty—is the critical variable affecting reading acquisition.”

Additionally, as ABC Life Canada explains, “Establishing a culture of learning encourages an exchange of ideas, enriches family relationships, and bolsters confidence and independent thinking.”

So aside from reading aloud to your kids, don’t be afraid to set up some independent reading time: Make a library trip together then curl up on the couch together, each with your own books! 

{ MORE: Helping Boys Succeed in School: 7 Tips to Foster Reading }

How has reducing your own screen time benefited your kids?

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4 Ways Reducing YOUR Screen Time Will Benefit Your Kids

Tracy Jensen is a writer, marketer, mother, fundraiser, marathoner, and music lover. A working, single mom of two kids ages six and five, she is notorious for doing things the hard way. In addition to writing for EverydayFamily, she survives suburban exile by blogging about life’s foibles at It Builds Character. She can be found at night ignoring the dishes and playing on Twitter. ... More

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