Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Offer fun alternatives to screen time.

What you can do

Encourage your child to spend free time exercising rather than staring at a TV or computer screen. Help him burn off energy by offering fun physical activities as a reward for completing a task or as a refreshing way to spend study breaks.

Explain how exercise will get “the juices flowing” and help him get ready to concentrate on homework and other tasks. But don’t try to eliminate screen time altogether. That will seem like punishment.

What you can say

“Jacob, I know you want to play Minecraft. You’ll have a chance to do that tonight once your homework’s done. But right now you have half an hour before you need to start your homework.”

“If you spend that time exercising rather than playing a video game, it’ll be easier for you to sit down and focus on your work. Let’s save Minecraft for later, when it's too dark to exercise outside. Which would you rather do right now—shoot some hoops or go for a bike ride?”

Why this will help

Balancing screen time with physical activity is especially important for kids with attention issues. They can get hyper-focused on TV or computer screens and have trouble disengaging from these activities. Doing some strenuous exercise every day can help them concentrate and be less fidgety. Activities like organized sports, martial arts and yoga have the added benefit of working out the body while enhancing mental control.

Keep in mind that some screen time can be good for kids. Knowing about popular shows and games will help your child participate in conversations with his peers. There are also many games and shows that are educational as well as entertaining.

858Found this helpful
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