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Top Tips for turning Screen Time into Family Time

Screen time as family time? It’s not such a difficult thing to imagine – especially when mobile phones and tablets are so integrated into both our lives and our children’s. And screen time actually offers some unique insights into your child’s development and abilities. A simple join-the-dots game could indicate motor skills, while a story-based TV show could demonstrate comprehension skills. So engaging with media as a family is the next step to learning with, and about, your kids!

screen time family time

When should family screen time be?

After school, at the weekend – whenever your child would normally be on a screen. This might mean watching their favourite TV with them, and seeing how they react to the characters. Or, play apps together on a tablet or phone. Note which apps they enjoy the most, and how well they can play them. As long as the screens are turned off at the table and one hour before bed, you’re good to go!

Check out this media plan for families from HealthyChildren.org, and more guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

What can I talk about?

While experiencing digital media with your child, it’s useful to discuss what you see. Ask your child to reflect on what’s happening, what they think about the events, and how they think the characters feel at the time. Common Sense Media has some useful ideas on what to ask. Talking to your child as they watch and play can give you a clearer idea of whether or not they’re benefitting from that particular media.

How does my child benefit?

Your presence while your child is engaging with media can have a variety of effects. You can show them how to play, building trust, or show them that making mistakes and failing at a certain level of a game is not a problem. Plus, family screen time is just another way you can ensure that you spend as much time as possible with your child as they grow. If you have several children, sharing and taking turns can also become a valuable lesson.

We try to create exciting and engaging experiences for a range of ages here at Minilab. Our counting app TotemUp suits younger toddlers, while Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System suits 7-10 year olds. Why not try playing along, and see who can make the craziest TotemUp tower of monsters, or who can pass the most questions in an Astro Cat Jetpack Challenge?

 

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