One evening after a long day at work I came home, and my three children were sitting on our couch and were on their tablets playing games and watching YouTube videos. I get settled in and start on dinner without interrupting my children on their iPads because they are being totally entertained and I can actually cook dinner and get things done around the house without being interrupted. Win-win for mom! Several hours have passed and I am dreading to tell my children they need to put away their iPads because I know the battle that is to come. Of course, meltdown city in my home because they are forced to get off their media high. After many of these types of nights, I was aware that this was an obvious problem. I was no longer going to allow the screens of our smartphones and iPads steal their childhood and create conflict in our home.

Are you letting the screens win in your home? It is apparent that many families and homes struggle with this issue. I have had numerous amounts of conversations with families about the struggles of media in the home and how it can be a challenge. The most important thing to realize is fueling our bodies with the right amount of the right things. Similarly, the more we learn about children’s media use, the clearer it becomes that in order to keep their minds healthy we need to help them get the right amount of media use.

Have you told yourself?
It’s a cheap babysitter and I need to get things done.
It’s making my child tech-savvy and he needs to learn the skills
My child is shy and it’s her outlet
My child wants to be a blogger/Youtuber or a coder
My child is obsessed now but she will grow out of it
It’s a safe game and educational

Stop and rethink the affects that it can cause on your child’s brain!

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), announced new policy recommendations about children’s media use.
Children younger than 18 months should not use screen media except for video-chatting. These guidelines are different than previously established guidelines recommending that children under 24 months avoid all screen media.
Children ages 18-24 months should only be exposed to high-quality, educational programming, such as content by Sesame Street and PBS KIDS. Media exposure for children this age should always be accompanied by an adult who can help them understand the content.
Children ages 2 to 5 years should be limited to an hour of screen time involving high-quality programs. Parents should also co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to their own lives.
Children ages 6 and older should have clear limits about both the amount of media time and the type of media content they are allowed to use.
Families should establish “media-free” times and locations, such as during dinner, driving, and in children’s bedrooms.
Regardless of children’s age, families should have regular conversations about online safety and etiquette.

It is never too late to change habits within your home. Find ways to reset the tone in your home and reconnect with your children. It may be tough for a short while, but it is worth the well-being of your child. Here are some suggestions that can certainly help you get started in your home.
 A family meeting to discuss the new changes so everyone is on the same page with the new rules
 Designated “screen time” at a specific time of the day and stay consistent
 Start participating with them during their “screen time”
 Create a “Play Box” fill a storage box with games, trinkets, art materials and books that they can choose from to be engaged and stimulate their mind.
 During dinner time every electronic in the home is turned off and we have discussions about our day
 Ask you child’s teacher for creative activities they can do at home.

As our world is constantly changing with increased media everywhere, we as parents must be aware and manage the media intake in our home. Say goodbye to the days of child meltdowns from media highs. Reset your screen habits, reconnect your family and rescue your children!  If you are looking for a learning center that cares about your child’s screen time consumption and learning process, you have found it!  Contact us today to get more information!

Jessica R. is a mom of 3 girls and the Director of Finding Me Now – Indianapolis – East