Screens are getting more and more common as our lives become more digital. Even though it continues to be a necessary part of our professional lives, it has also managed to take over our leisure time. We rely on them heavily for news and entertainment, for reading books and shopping, and for staying in touch with loved ones. We can handle this overwhelming presence of screens as adults, but what about our children? Let’s discuss the importance of ‘movement’ for children and how you can reduce your child’s screen time easily!
Know Your Child’s Limit
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding all screen time for children who are younger than 2 years old, while older children can indulge in some screen time if necessary. This is because studies have proven that kids exposed to screens will suffer behavioral, educational, and health problems.
At Springdale Academy, a Montessori school, we believe children should be active rather than sedentary, especially when they’re still young; Movement introduces them to their natural environment and their body’s capabilities. As opposed to staring at a blue light-tinted screen, children should become more social and active, discover new things, and learn how to solve problems.
Montessori and Screen Time
The classrooms at Springdale Academy are more conducive to following through on this. With our highly trained teachers guiding your child, these classrooms are meticulously curated to provide a safe learning environment. Yet another important aspect is to begin the activities with the children and then step to the side so they can continue by themselves. Sometimes all they need is a gentle nudge to get going. However, it can pose a challenge to parents at home. Our recommendation to parents is to start limiting and reducing your child’s screen time with the most basic step, i.e., getting physical.
Movement is an integral part of Montessori education from birth. To help infants learn to roll, crawl, and pull, allow them to spend time on the floor. In the future, they will need this when they try to stand. Moreover, incorporating sensory games into indoor play is an effective way of increasing physical activity for older children who already have access to free time outdoors.
How to reduce your child’s screen time?
While it is understandable that children occupied by screens allow parents some downtime to unwind and relax, how about unstructured and independent playtime instead to keep your child engaged? Kids will benefit from having a plethora of activities to keep them entertained, such as playing with their friends or bringing their creativity forward through arts and crafts that do not focus on the end result but rather on the process. The goal is to cultivate their social skills and help them establish a sense of identity at a young age.
Music is another fundamental component of Montessori classrooms. Through it, children can communicate and express themselves nonverbally in an effective manner instead of using conventional outbursts of emotions like screaming and crying. Through singing, dancing, or learning an instrument, a child can increase spatial awareness, develop listening skills, and explore their creativity.
Cooking, an activity often overlooked, has a huge impact on motor skills while teaching children practical life skills. The cooking process promotes independence and lets children experience the taste of their accomplishment when they see the results of measuring different amounts of ingredients and combining them. In addition, they learn basic math skills. In addition to stimulating their interest in new flavors and textures they might otherwise shy away from, active participation in the kitchen provides you and your children with the perfect opportunity to bond.
Gardening is an ideal companion to support their budding culinary skills. It’s a wonderful learning experience for children to plant seeds, take care of the saplings, and watch them grow into mature edible plants that can be used by them in the kitchen.
The Springdale Academy family believes that the learning process involves a three-way partnership between a child, teacher, and classroom. For Montessori education to be successful, the environment in your home must support the child’s development of independent play, mindfulness, and a sense of place. But how can they be part of it if they are constantly staring at screens?