How to get kids to help out with chores and then reward them with screentime. Make a game out of chores and minimizing screentime by using a free chore chart provided.
This is a guest post.
Technology has revolutionized the world by bringing comfort and ease to our lives. However, at the same time, it is negatively affecting the younger generation concerning the amount of time they spend on their mobiles, tablets, or computers. This is severely affecting our children, both physically and psychologically.
Health is a major issue that is very important concerning the proper physical and psychological development of a child. Additionally, a kind of ‘social distancing’ has developed in families due to the excessive use of gadgets.
Let’s take a look at what major health and development issues are related to excessive screen time.
Health and development issues associated with too much screen time
The following health and social issues are pretty detrimental to a child’s overall health and development:
Lack of sleep
Children get obsessed with certain games or cartoons that keep them glued to the screen even when their eyes are heavy with sleep. They prefer finishing the game or the next episode of anything they are watching with zero regard for bedtime.
Sleeping is essential to relax the mind and the body after an entire day full of energy-consuming tasks.
Sleep deprivation ensures your child doesn’t ‘heal,’ so to speak, at the end of the day, and starts another one with a tired mind and body. For this reason, we need to dissociate the children from the addictive use of screen time.
It’s universally acknowledged that the harmful rays that are emitted from the screen of cell phones or computers are detrimental to the eyes. Children do not particularly care for this information and are adamant about continuing with their on-screen activities unless strict action is taken.
A young body demands exercise. Unfortunately, too much screen time ensures the children stay sedentary for the better part of the day, resulting in an increased rate of obesity in children.
Lack of development of social skills
Children are at that stage of life where they learn to deal with different issues and build relationships with peers, parents, friends, and relatives. However, today’s young generation is always texting, and for that reason, it is hard to communicate verbally.
This leads to a lack of social skills development and their reaction to even petty issues becoming a mountain of a problem. Zero tolerance is developing in response to any point of view that goes against their own.
Thumb and neck pain leading to serious health issues
Children are often not mindful of their posture, and continually looking down at their phones only worsens that. This leads to increased complaints of neck pain.
Similarly, excessive and unnatural use of the thumbs for texting and playing games has led to the coining of the term ‘text thumb’ injury by medical experts.
These seemingly harmless pains can lead to severe health issues for children in the future, such as arthritis, repetitive motion syndrome, etc. Excessive device usage is also linked with migraines.
How to dissuade children from too much screen time?
Children can create a lot of fuss and throw tantrums if they’re forced to do something or if some pressure is exerted on them. There has to be a better way to persuade them to comply willingly and prevent excessive screen time.
One way is to involve them in the day-to-day house chores. Household tasks will keep them away from the screens, in addition to having them do something productive.
The following chores will be useful in helping the children integrate themselves within the working fabric of the house and also stay away from the screens.
Make a game out of Kids’ chores to increase participation
You can even make a game out of it and make your kids earn screen time by doing chores.
You can keep points/minutes for each chore that they do. Share a list of chores with them, which clearly states how many minutes of screen time they will get for them. Here is a pre-filled list of chores, and here is a blank one to get you started.
A few chores that can keep your kids occupied and teach them responsibility as well are:
Walking the dog
If you have house pets, then your kids should help you in taking care of them. They can feed them regularly and take the dog for a walk to earn some screen-time. This will teach them responsibility and help them get some exercise as well.
Washing the car
This is also fun for children to do. They usually look forward to washing cars. You could also keep high points for this as this is a bit more time-consuming and isn’t done every day.
Making the bed
This may not be a fun chore but will certainly instill responsibility in the long run, and it will be good for the mental well-being of your kids to be in organized surroundings. If your kids are particularly challenging with this one, you can award more minutes.
Include them in the cooking process
You can have your kids help you make lunch or dinner. To achieve this, you can use cool utensils e.g., a pasta maker to make homemade pasta, have them press out cookies with a cookie press, ask them to gather the ingredients for a salad, and the like.
Tasks like these will allow you to spend more time together as a family as well.
Setting the table
This task might also not be a favorite with the kids but will help them understand the concept of routine and duties. One kid can set the table; another one can pick up after dinner is done.
Clean and organize the room
This can be a bit of a mammoth task, especially if your kid is a particularly messy one. In that case, you can allot more minutes to this one. But this is important as having tidy surroundings is excellent for mental health.
Watering the plants
If you have plants around the house, you can set your kids to watering them daily. This will take the job off your shoulders and also instill a sense of responsibility since it will be a regular activity done daily.
Taking out the trash
If your kid is new to this one, help them out the first few times until they get the hang of it as you don’t want any accidents with this one. You can set the rewards depending on how often your trash is taken out (daily, once every two days, etc.).
Loading/unloading the dishwasher
Hardly anyone likes to do the dishes, but you can help your kids understand the work that goes behind keeping a kitchen clean by asking them to do a daily load of the dishwasher.
Folding the laundry
Teach them to fold their clothes and place them in an orderly manner in their proper places. This will be an excellent way to help them learn to keep things organized and look after themselves. In time, you can also teach them to do their laundry.
This chore often needs to be done daily too. Assign one small area to the child for specific points. If they want more points, they can dust other areas too.
Sweeping/ Mopping the kitchen floor
You can encourage your kids to do this with smiling faces by allocating more screen time to this one. And when they are doing the mopping, this will also teach them not to bring in muddy shoes!
Fetching the newspaper/ mail
If you get your newspaper delivered, you can do a chore out of it and ask your kid to fetch it. This will expose the child to fresh air and a tiny bit of exercise early in the morning.
Clean/organize the fridge
You can assign one or two racks of the fridge to the kids and ask them to clean or organize. In addition to getting points, they can get their favorite food item when you next go to the grocery store if they complete this chore.
Clean/organize the closet
This chore can be done once a week or fortnightly. Keep higher points for this as it is a time-taking task. You can check in on them from time to time and provide guidance where necessary.
Helping in grocery shopping
This isn’t a chore, exactly, but you can ask your kids to be helpful and not get in your way as you do your weekly round of grocery shopping.
If they cooperate in collecting the items, you can allow them to buy two of their favorite items in addition to whatever screen-time you think is an appropriate reward.
By helping around the house, the kids will understand the effort it takes to manage a household. Besides, it will be a great way to prepare them to be independent in the long run and pull their own weight.
You should be generous in rewarding your kids, but you should also be very careful that the total screen-time you end up rewarding them with does not exceed a healthy limit. Happy parenting!
This is a guest post
Sarah is a writer. What she essentially does is try out new products when cooking for her family and then review said products for kitchenfaction.com.