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Five ways to limit your screen time as a parent

It happens to me all the time. I'm playing with my preschooler, and while he's busy in the game, I think of taking a sneak peak at my phone 'just to check'. Before I know it, I'm looking at random things on Facebook and Instagram. My son has, of course, noticed by this time, and tries to get my attention while protesting my use of the phone. He then declares he no longer wants to play. That's when I want to smack myself on the head for being a distracted parent.

If this scenario plays out for you too, or if you are unhappy about the time you spend on your phone/tablet/laptop, it's time to do something. Of course, not everything we do online is a waste of time. Phones may have actually made us more productive and organized. They're also how we connect with other parents who may not live next door, but have the perfect advice for an issue you may be facing with your kids.

But the problem with being online is that you often lose focus on what you actually meant to do, and get sidelined by other distractions.

You may think that your kids won't notice, but they do, in fact, notice anything that takes your attention away from them. This can cause them to behave erratically to entice you to react. You could also miss out on cues that something is wrong, and not know how to deal with the sudden change in behaviour.

Being online at all times, especially on social media, can be addictive. It takes effort to recognize these signs, and take steps towards reducing the habit.

Five things you can do to limit your screen time, and be a less distracted parent.


These are five things you can do to limit your screen time, and be a less distracted parent:


Turn off notifications


Those pings have a way of making you drop everything and run to the phone. Yet they're rarely anything important, and even if they are, they can wait until you're done with your current task. So the first thing you've got to do is turn off notifications from social media. This goes for emails and chat too.

Go online after set intervals


It works best when you check your phone or laptop at your convenience. Have certain times fixed during the day when you know you can get away for half an hour. Do all your important online work during that time, such as replying to emails and paying bills. You can check social media more frequently, but just make sure you're doing it at set intervals you've decided on.

Schedule screen time together


If (and only if) you allow your kids some screen time, then use it for yourself too. You won't have any complaints or whining, at least. If you don't allow for screen time or have a toddler, set them up with a quiet independent activity. Just make sure you keep it brief, for a duration you know your child can sit by themselves.

Call when you can


Conversations get imminently long online. You type in long messages, and it's hard to leave your phone alone when you're in the middle of a chat. Consider simply calling up to deliver a message instead of leaving a message and checking your phone for replies.

Use it while working out


This is a win-win! You don't have to do crunches, but even simple work-outs like walking the treadmill or an exercise cycle is good enough. Also, you'll feel less guilty about using your phone. And you get fitter in the process.

We are so conscious about controlling the amount of time our kids spend on screens. But we shouldn't forget that we must set limits for ourselves too, if we want to be more mindful as parents.

Parenting Tips 3967405484357868163

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