Parenting is like being a player on the ground you never know where the ball is going to come from and hit you and you need to prepare with the bat. We’re talking about screen time and our idea is to empower you with your batting skills such that no matter what comes from the environment, you can handle it. You can help your child develop irrespective of what is happening in their environment.
What could you as a parent do with children so that you take them off the grip of digital gadgets or nullify the effect that screen time is creating on them and prevent children from going into screen addiction? So, the acronym we need to remember as parents, which is quite simple, is BATS. B is the root cause of the results that we are seeing in children these days, boredom.
Most people would say my child is getting bored and that is why we are providing them with iPad or phones because they love watching videos and rhymes. By doing this they are learning faster, or they love to see interesting movies or science videos and such. The first thing at the source of it is boredom. Children these days want something to happen at once after they communicate their boredom and parents rush in to save their children from boredom.
When parents do this, the first thing that generally comes to mind, which is the easiest, is to get them to screen time. Either they hand them to a TV or a laptop or give them a gadget in their hand and say ‘why don’t you go ahead and try this? Parents today think that it’s their responsibility at all hours of the day to keep their children away from boredom. It’s as if boredom is bad.
Science has found that boredom is the first phase of creativity. So, if you’re looking at your child being creative, which is especially important for today’s era, then boredom is a precedent. When a child gets bored, that is when they will think differently, when they will think of the box solutions. So as a parent you need not panic with the word boredom and be in a rush to take an action around it.
When your child comes to you and tells you that they are bored, acknowledge that feeling and ask them what they want to do. Is there some activity they would like to take part in or something different that they wish to try out? Encourage them as much as possible to answer beyond the screen, beyond digital gadgets.
A in the acronym BATS stands for finding alternatives. What is the child inclined towards which is far more interesting than screen time? So even if a child is a screen addict or someone who is on a heavy digital diet, then finding alternatives can be a particularly promising idea. You can try directing their focus back in the kitchen, in the bedrooms, give them various toys to play with, help them in clay muddling et al. All you need to do is figure out different alternatives.
Another way to look at alternatives could be hobbies or classes and the number of new skills that the children can learn. Most of the time, most of the children are inclined towards working with nature, especially gardening. The aim is to kindle that curiosity which is leading them towards creativity rather than taking them towards boredom.
T in BATS stands for time. Screen time or screen addiction, if you see it as a pattern, will be a certain time of the day during which they are hooked to technology. The question you need to ask is, can you shift that pattern? Can you break that pattern? Let’s say a child has a habit of watching rhymes before going to sleep, which is dangerous because only those images will be flashing in their minds when they are sleeping. You can ask them to draw out a story for you instead of spending their time on the screen, or you can ask them to enact a story for you or maybe you do it for them.
S stands for support and surrounding. You as a parent are the most crucial factor in their life and how you do things and the way you do them will go a long way in building their future. When you see your child using the gadgets, you don’t have to pounce on them and scold them for watching videos and using the net. It is about offering support from their world. We must take ourselves to the level of these children. We must think and convey our feelings in a way that does not agitate them but instead makes them understand the concern behind our words and actions.
Gradually take them out from the world of digitalization and constant screentime instead of doing it abruptly. Getting the results you want, that is for your child to be away from phones and laptops, will take time. Give them time to get this habit of constant screen time out of their daily schedule. Give yourself time to find new activities that you can do with them, or that they can do on their own.