We are all home bound and trying to stay safe in these uncertain times.
We are all trying to fill the day the best that we can.
We are all trying to keep the kids learning and engaged.
Let's be honest. We are all on screens. All. Day. Long.
There's no way around it, it's the age of IT and we are blessed to be able to tap into the outside world as we do. But how can we keep the kids eyes healthy and not create a nation of short sightedness being stuck on screens all day?
Here are top 6 tips to keep vision and eyes working to their best while overloading the screen time.
1.The Golden "20/20" Rule.
20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.
This is the golden rule when using a device - try to have break times, the best time space is 20 minutes of watching and then 20 minutes of break. The break time should be time to relax the eyes, look far, look out the window and take a break.
2. Stick to a schedule
Create a timetable in the home for the kids to stick to. Allow them to enjoy their screen time, both for pleasure and for learning. Allocate times for no-screen educational activities and also for free-time. Stick to the schedules and be sure there is more free-space and less technology.
3. Make outdoor time fun
Research has shown that outdoor time helps reduce short-sighted factors in kids - a combination of sunlight, fresh air and using the eyes to look far away. Even during social isolation there is always a way to include outdoor time. Even if it involves sitting on your front step and playing a game of eye-spy looking out into the street. If you are able to use an outdoor space like a back garden, then throw a ball, do starjumps, hop in a line or try find the birds hiding in the trees.
4. Combine screen-time with exercise
Set the kids up in front of a kids yoga class or a move-and-learn activity, streaming it onto the TV or laptop and make some space for the kids to follow along and copy the instructions. This will make them enjoy the device time while moving and not staring straight at the screen. Some fun ones we have tried are "PE with Joe" on Youtube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature+youtu.be&v=Rz0go1pTda8 and also "Cosmic Yoga" https://youtu.be/pn65ltyntp4
5. Create "Technology-Free Zones"
Make space in your home where no devices are to be used. These zones are to be used for free space activities, chats and discussions, reading or crafts. It makes this space enjoyable and encourages free-thinking.
6. Make use of TV Time!
Yes. You heard me! Watch TV! I'm sure you didn't think I'd encourage this! But believe it or not, watching TV is a far easier load on the eyes than watching on a screen at the table or on your lap. It makes the eyes look further away and chances are the kids may get more distracted and look around the room more. If they are going to watch anyway, then give the TV a go.