School Time v/s Screen Time
The Coronavirus pandemic has forced schools across the country and around the world to shut down for weeks. As uncertainty prevails, parents world over are grappling with how to keep their children occupied, while juggling their own work from home (WFH) responsibilities.
In a unique situation like this, routine can be quite comforting. Parents could look at a child’s day as a 24-hour empty glass. Structure the child’s day and your own in a way that this ‘cup of time’ is filled with a diverse menu of activities and learning experiences for everyone.
It is very likely that screen time reaches an all-time high, so it’s important for parents to be conscious of what a child is doing online.
Create ‘Extra Screen Time’
Your kids might complain that they’re bored, so doing away with‘screen time limits’ may seem like the obvious choice. Considering the current circumstances, that may be OK for now.
However, rather than handing over the remote or the tab, parents can help children by choosing age appropriate content that’s worthwhile. Young kids could learn from educational apps or sites such as Sesame Street and PBS Kids – which are designed “to meet children’s developmental needs while providing a large dose of fun!”
Considering the Covid-19 situation, many companies are offering their resources for a limited period – for FREE. Here are a few you can consider:
✓ Scribd: With millions of e-books, magazine articles and more, Scribd just announced that it was making its digital library available for free for 30-days.
✓ Audible Stories: To keep kids, teens and families occupied, Audible Stories has just been launched. With a library educational and entertaining audiobook content, it is currently accessible for free.
Times like these can inspire a resurgence of interest in co-viewing, so you and your children could sit together, watch and have fun online. Take this an opportunity to learn about new apps/social media networks from your child or play an online game together.
Well, putting in time and effort to do this while finding something of common interest is always easier said than done – especially so, when kids need to be entertained round the clock while you are working remotely. However, even when you feel like you have no time or energy to watch, listen or play together, you could find creative ways such as –
✓ Having your kids listen to an e-book, while you’re busy cooking dinner and discussing it later, at bed time.
✓ Or listening to an age-appropriate podcast together while you’re folding laundry instead of setting your child up in front of the ‘idiot box’ in the other room.
✓ Or taking a virtual tour of another city or a museum.
Create, rather than consume
Kids can do more than merely watch, play with or consume content created by others. Instead, they can use technology to show their own creative and imaginative side.
Children can utilize this time to create their own videos to share with family and friends (but not public). They can have fun filming themselves acting out a play or showcasing their talent or making an instructional video to teach others a new skill.