My kids watch way too much television. We try and try to limit screen time, but there’s always a device on somewhere in our house. Either the television’s on, the computer is buzzing with games, the tablet is playing videos, or our smartphones are surfing the web.

We are always connected in our house, and it’s a challenge for parents everywhere to keep screen time to a minimum.

But there are steps we can take to curtail the amount of time our kids spend in front of devices. Here are a few to try.

1. Add Strict Limits

This is the most obvious choice, but also one of the most difficult. If you set a time limit, you must stick to it. Once you bend, your kids will see an opening and exploit it in the future. You must stick to your guns.

What’s a good limit? That depends on you and your kids. If your kids are good students, conscientious about their work and chores, then maybe you can reward them with a little more screen time. If your kids aren’t engaged in their schoolwork or housework, maybe limiting the screen time would be a better choice.

2. Lead By Example

If your children see you constantly on your smartphone or tablet, guess what? They’ll want to be on their devices or in front of the TV all the time, too. It’s natural. They emulate us. If our kids see us exercising, reading books, or doing puzzles, they’ll want to emulate those things instead.

3. Engage Them in Other Activities

If your kids are spending too much time watching television, playing video games, or watching videos, it might be time to engage them in other activities. Sign up for a sport or art class to challenge another part of their brain.

4. Play With Them

The easy choice as a parent is to let your kids watch TV and have some time to get other things done. No harm, no foul, right? Wrong. The best choice would be to try and spend quality time with your kids doing homework, working on academic-related skills, or getting outside to play. You can also find fun activities that can be about family bonding: play board games, card games, take a bike ride, or a long walk around the neighborhood.

5. Make Screen Time Educational

There are a wealth of educational shows on television that can challenge your child’s mind even as they sit in front of a screen. Watch a nature show or a historical documentary. Go online and take a virtual tour of a historical site, or watch videos about safe science experiments and try to do them at home. These kinds of activities will also stimulate parents as well and create some much-needed family time. Screen time doesn’t have to be wasted time.

How do you reduce your children's screen time? Share with us in the comments!

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