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5 Tips for Parents Balancing Screen Time During School Closures

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Family sitting around the table at home using technology. | Creative Commons License
Family sitting around the table at home using technology. | | Getty Images/iStockphoto

With school districts closing, PBS SoCal | KCET is just as committed as you are to making sure that your children’s learning does not stop. We are prepared to support your children’s learning at home through digital resources, online games and educational broadcast programming.

In the coming weeks, your children may spend extra time in front of screens. Although screen time on televisions, phones, tablets, and computers can be a great way to continue a student's education at home, it is important to create boundaries so that children can find a healthy balance with technology and other fun activities. When used thoughtfully, high-quality screen time is an incredibly powerful way to make sure our children keep learning and growing.

Families can keep media and tech use in check by following a few simple practices.

  1. Watch and play together by emphasizing high-quality educational apps and media. PBS KIDS programming makes it easy to choose quality, age-appropriate media to enjoy with your kids. Along with creating moments for parent-child bonding, co-viewing and playing together can be a great way to reinforce and practice learning concepts during commercial breaks or after an episode ends. Help your child understand what they are seeing on the screen and help them apply it to the world around them.
  2. Share a clear screen time plan. Set time limits for your children for specific apps and shows. This becomes especially important now when kids may engage in more screen time than usual at home. Suggest playing with a PBS KIDS app for 30 minutes followed by reading a book related to their interests, coloring, or engaging in physical activity outside.
  3. Create screen-free time and zones. Help kids take breaks from tech by limiting screen time in bedrooms, during study time and during meals.
  4. Make home routines educational. Encourage your kids to take breaks from watching television to engage in other activities, such as helping you cook, sorting and folding laundry, or playing a board game. You can turn everyday home routines into educational conversations about measurement, sorting, classifying shapes and counting.
  5. Take a pause from technology to talk.Have quality conversations with your family. Talk to your children about how they are feeling being away from school and their friends, or about their worries or fears regarding COVID-19.

More resources here:

  • Sign up for texts from Common Sense Media by texting the word “kids” to phone number 21555. You will start receiving free text message tips about how to practice healthy media habits at home with your family.
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