How to Reduce Screen Time for Toddlers while eating?

Electronics play a major role in your child’s development. It is much more convenient to leave your child with a phone or television in today’s age, rather than actively trying to look after them. Even though this might prove to be very convenient at first, it causes greater harm to your child in the longer run.

It is not always recommended to give your toddlers access to electronics during their day-to-day activities—one of the biggest ones being while eating.

You should always limit your child’s intake of screen time and ensure that they do not cross that said limit.

Overexposure to screens would not only dim your child’s development but also make your toddler much more reliant on technology rather than social activities. 

Why should your toddler avoid screen while eating?

It can be a hassle to feed your toddler, but to make that job easier, it is always convenient to put them in front of a screen while allowing a much smoother feeding of your child.

The screen keeps your child engaged by totally grabbing their attention while allowing you to take that chance to feed your toddler in peace. 

It is not advisable to keep doing this, regardless of its convenience, because of its harm to your child.

Firstly, your child develops a habit of relying on some technology to eat properly, resulting in greater behavioral problems later on. Your toddler should know the proper method of eating rather than looking at a screen.

Secondly, due to not giving attention to the food, major health hazards such as choking can occur due to this habit. Your toddler should pay their attention wholeheartedly towards eating rather than on some screen, which might harm themselves. 

Proper education towards the technological use of your toddler is essential for their proper development. Ignoring such crucial character-building habits might prove to be great, not beneficial for your toddler in the future.

It would be best if you avoid this at all costs, and you must take proper steps to ensure that your toddler does not suffer from the problems caused by overexposure to screen times. 

Moreover, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, toddlers have been limited to their homes, and the only platform for them to spend their time on is phones and televisions. As parents, it is always difficult to keep track of your toddler’s doings, but you must take precautions to reduce their usage of screens.

While screens have become an essential part of everyone’s lives, it also brings a lot of harm and puts not only your child but also you at various risks, resolving health issues such as obesity, spinal problems, and similar issues.

It is essential to reduce screen time for your toddlers, even during eating, to ensure that such risks do not affect your toddler.

What steps to take to reduce your toddler’s screen time?

It might prove very inconvenient at first to reduce your child’s screen time, but the benefits it would bring to their behaviors and health far outshines the problems of reducing it.

Here are some of the most viable options to try to rescue your child’s screen time. These are popular methods used by thousands of parents worldwide to reduce their child’s exposure to screens and so far have proven to be reasonably effective. You, too, can implement the following methods in hopes of reducing your toddler’s screen time, most prominently during eating. The methods are as follows :

  • Set a Proper model for your Toddlers: It is often seen that toddlers tend to take up behavioral traits from the people around them. So to reduce their screen time, you too have to make sure to set a good example for your toddler. Every time you sit in front of a screen, you have to take notice that your toddler might copy that behavior. So reducing your screen time in front of your toddler would encourage similar behavior in them as well. So, it would be best if you reduced your own screen time in front of your toddler to make them reduce theirs as well. 
  • Educating yourself and your toddler about screens: It is essential that you, as well as your toddler, are well educated about the risks that over-exposure to screens can cause to you and your health. Once you properly educate yourself about the risks of such activity, you can do the same for your toddler by first making them understand that sitting in front of a screen for long periods is not good for their health and wellbeing. 
  • Implementing Behavioral Changing Habits: To bring about a change in your toddler’s habits, it is essential to train them adequately. Even though the train is a harsh word, to educate your toddler properly, an appropriate behavioral changing plan must be made and implemented to mark visible results. It would help your child avoid prolonged screen times and help them realize the benefits of other activities that do not involve electronics. These systems can be tough to implement at first, but after a few days or weeks, things start to take a turn towards the better as good habits begin to get incorporated into your toddler’s life.
  • Setting up proper house rules: House rules and abiding by the following rules can drastically help bring about a change in your toddler’s habits. To ensure that they do not sit in front of screens everywhere, it is advisable to make tech-free zones in your home, where your child, as well as adults, are prohibited from using electronic gadgets such as phones and laptops. Such can be dining rooms so that your toddler does not sit in front of a screen while eating. Making strict house rules with appropriate penalties for everyone is a very healthy and beneficial way of reducing screen time for your toddler and building healthy habits for everyone in the family. 
  • Using certain services to take control of your toddler’s screen time: There are numerous ways to limit your toddler’s screen time directly, and such services are often referred to as “Parental Control.” Such settings are available in most electronic devices, which are always recommended to be used to limit your child’s exposure to screens and usage of electronic devices. Not only does it limit their screen time, but it brings other benefits, such as blocking explicit content from reaching your child and giving you full control of their activities with electronic devices. It is not recommended to instantly cut off your child’s screen time to only a few hours a day since that would, in turn, prove to be detrimental to their behaviors. Instead of cutting it down little by little regularly proven to be much more beneficial in properly ensuring a steady reduction of screentime in toddlers.
  • Providing proper reasoning for limiting your child’s screen time: It is often required to give your child the proper reasoning for why such actions have been taken against their behavior. It not only helps them understand their wrongdoings but also helps build good character and reduces the chances of your toddler getting upset over such actions. It would also help you to enforce house rules much more easily. Giving a proper explanation on why such behavior is unhealthy and harmful to your children helps them understand the gravity of the situation and helps them to become self-aware and avoid such actions.
  • Promote other activities to substitute for screen time: It is very easy to use electronic gadgets as a means to spend leisurely time, which is not good for your toddlers. Such activities hinder their physical capabilities and cognitive skills and reduce their overall development. Promoting other activities which do not involve screens is much better for your child. Physical activities outdoors or indoor games such as chess and table tennis are among the most popular substitutes for screen and electric gadgets. Actively supporting your child to take up useful skills and hobbies goes a long way in helping them remove the habit of sitting in front of screens and makes them much more capable.
  • Screen time should not be considered a necessity: Right now, screen time is much more important for your toddler, and to them, it is a right that they think is essential. You should remove this conception by making it imminent that screentime is not a necessity but a luxury in their lives. To do this, parents can try to limit their toddler’s screen time to a certain period and do not provide extensions no matter what. Instead, providing non-electronic gadgets as rewards for positive behaviors is much better in comparison to screen time.
  • Limit the use of electronic gadgets to certain areas only: If your toddlers use electronic gadgets outside of your view, it happens most of the time that you lose track and end up forgetting about how long your ward has been using the gadget. To tackle this problem effectively, you can limit the use of electronic gadgets to only certain parts of your house, such as the living room, to surveil as well as keep in touch with how long your toddler has been using the screen. This enables you to provide effective and strict usage of screens and helps to enforce a proper screen time for your toddler.
  • Paying close attention to your toddler’s screen activities: You must monitor what your toddler uses through the phone or laptops. You must keep addictive sites and games out of their reach since it instigates an urge for longer screen time and is a root to various behavioral problems. Modern phone games and apps are meant to be additive to retain the user’s attention for as long as possible. To avoid this, strict usage of such appliances is necessary; you can accomplish this through monitoring your toddler’s activity on such devices. If your child plays games or uses social media, you must check with whom they are interacting. Many games are rated for mature audiences and must be kept out of your toddler’s reach. Social media, too, must be avoided by your toddlers. If they encrypt such applications through passwords, you should always ask your child for such initials since there are many harmful services on such platforms that might be detrimental for your child.
  • Please make time to disconnect from all electronic services regularly: During dinner or lunch, it is noticed that your toddler or child might use their phones or watch television, avoiding essential time to connect with the family. Making a strict time for totally unplugging from all electronics and screen time is necessary to tackle such problems. This would allow your toddler and you to enjoy a few hours of the day, free from the screen, and help build a better relationship within the family. Bringing about such behavior change and innovative solutions to this problem helps strengthen the bond among family members and your toddlers and avoid prolonged screen time. 

How is this beneficial to your toddler?

Bringing about such changes is not only beneficial to your toddler, but it is good for your entire family.

It helps to avoid health risks and chances of obesity.

It helps to promote useful and good hobbies in your toddler and helps build better skill sets rather than wasting time in front of the screen. Not only that, this helps in making a good and family-friendly environment in your home and strengthens the bond between family members as well as your toddler.

It helps your child be self-aware and avoid bad habits and is beneficial for their correct development and upbringing.

To conclude, these are the necessary steps you must take to reduce screen time for your toddler while eating and throughout their daily activities.

Following the above steps are guaranteed to show better results and ensure the good development of your toddler. Even though this might prove to be very convenient at first, it causes greater harm to your child in the longer run.

It is not always recommended to give your toddlers access to electronics during their day-to-day activities. You should always look after your child and give them the best treatment for their overall well-being.

Controlling screen time is one of the necessary disciplinary actions for your toddler. The above steps would surely give you satisfactory results if followed properly. 

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