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  • 'Hayaan Magkalat, Maglaro': Parents Share Effective Strategies To Limit Kids' Screen Time

    Screen time is not at all bad but should be limited for kids.
    by Angela Baylon .
'Hayaan Magkalat, Maglaro': Parents Share Effective Strategies To Limit Kids' Screen Time
PHOTO BY shutterstock
  • Monitoring our kids' time in front of the screen sure adds another layer of challenge when it comes to parenting. While gadget use is not all that bad, ensuring healthy screen time is vital to support children's physical and social development.

    Experts and numerous studies have highlighted how gadgets can negatively impact kids' developmental progress, primarily when used too early and in excess. In a 2019 Smart Parenting Masterclass, behavioral pediatrician Francis Dimalanta, M.D. explains how gadgets can limit toddlers' tactile learning.

    He explains, "Children should learn using the hand, and all senses should be stimulated. They learn Math using building blocks better than seeing it on screen."

    Dr. Dimalanta points out that screen time also disrupts children's holistic learning since it keeps them from having meaningful interactions where they can develop empathy.

    Researchers from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital found that excessive screen use during a child's formative years has also been linked to poorer brain function. (Read more about this study here)

    While keeping kids entirely off the screen is almost impossible nowadays, what parents can do next is to monitor and limit the time when their little ones spend time in front screen. If you're having difficulty setting screen time rules at home, here are some tips that have worked for other parents.

    Parents share their most effective ways to limit kids' screen time

    Who better knows how to enforce screen time limit than the parents themselves. In our online Facebook community, Smart Parenting Village we asked moms and dads: "Ano ang inyong ways para i-control ang screen time ng inyong anak?"

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    Below are some of the best answers we got (edited for clarity and brevity.)

    Encourage more playtime, even if it means having a messier house.

    "I let him play. 'Yung play niya sa bahay magkalat. Kung outdoor naman magkutkot ng lupa. Madumi, oo. Pero healthy naman anak ko, hindi sakitin. 'Pag nanonood siya ng phone, ilang minutes bored na siya so iiwan na niya." -Adz L.

    "Hinahayaan ko po sila maglaro ng toys nila. Okay lang makalat then clean up later. Sa TV lang sila madalas manuod po ng Youtube. 'Pag hapon na, I let them go outside po para makapag-bike." -Kimberly V.

    "Hayaan magkalat, maglaro. Naka-on lang ang T.V. para my music lang, pero hindi siya nakatutok. And wala rin kami extra phone, so hindi rin tumatagal ang phone sa kanila kasi need ko gamitin" -Bequi E.

    "Ilabas ang coloring materials, sketch pad, playdoh and toys. Messy lang pero proven na yan sa amin. Nalilimutan ang Youtube kids." -Cresel S.

    "Bigyan ng maraming toys,, kahit makalat sa floor or kahit saan nya ilapag OK lang dahil dun siya happy. Marunong naman po siya magligpit. Ililigpit niya after niya mag-play." -Belle A.

    Make rules and apply it consistently.

    "Nakalimit din ang screen time ko para hindi nya makitang nag-gadgets din ako. Kung gagamit man ako ng cellphone, nakatago sa kaniya. Pag di nya nakikita mga gadgets hindi naman niya gagamitin. At sa TV sya nanunuod." -Eileen M.

    "Nasa pag-uusap naman at disiplina. From Monday to Friday ng umaga bawal cellphone pero Friday ng hapon to Saturday and Sunday ng hapon pwede na mag-cellphone. Kapag tapat ng Sunday around 6PM highly stricted na dahil may pasok na kinaumagahan. Basta consistent ka lang na gano'n ang batas mo kahit magwala pa 'yan wag na wag mo kaawaan. Sumusunod naman." - Marian W.

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    "Stick with the allowable screen time schedule. Pag malapit na matapos 'yung time nila, remind them so they can learn to also manage their time (hindi mabibitin sa play or video na pinapanood). Also, make sure na meron silang gagawin na activities after the screen time, whether physical play or nap time, otherwise they will get bored and look for their gadgets again." -Gwen C.

    "Be firm and create a routine. My kids have 1 to 2 hours daily after ng modules nila, every Saturday is gadget day, pagmulat ng mata hanggang matulog yan kain lang ang pahinga.  Sunday is zero screen, kahit TV. Mas excited silang tumapos ng modules para maka-gadget, may Saturday sila na nilu-look forward." -Jack B.

    "The after 5 minutes rule. Sa screen time, as much as possible, nililimit ko sya sa tig-15 minutes tapos rest. So, kapag 10 minutes na, mag-reremind na ako sa kaniya nang "after 5 minutes" rule namin. Kasama ko sya mag-set ng timer tapos magsasabi siya kapag tumunog na. Siya na mismo kukuha nang remote to turn off the tv or i'sauli na sakin ang cellphone tapos mag-play na siya or draw or write." -Roschelle C.

    Some moms got real and honest about resorting to scare tactics.

    "'Do you want to see a scary face?' 'yan lang po sinasabi ko para mag-stop agad lalo na kapag nap time nila." -Cristina B.

    "Sinasabi ko 'OMG look at your eyes, it's all red and swollen. Naku, mabubulag kana.' Ayun bigla bibitawan cellphone, kukuha towel at itatakip sa eyes. Sorry sinubukan ko na lahat ng ways pero eto 'yun pinaka-effective" -April A.

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    Many moms also swear by the effectiveness of using parental control apps like Google Family Link to set a time limit on gadgets as well as restrict what apps your child can access.

    How about you moms and dads, what screen limiting strategies do you find effective in your household? Share them on the comment section below!

    Read more tips on how to ensure healthy gadget use among kids here.

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