The 5 tips from Max & Lea:
Limiting the time spent in front of screens for the whole family
Because an adult has to set an example, it is less effective to tell young children that they should play with toys if he sees mom and dad always in front of a screen. We know that it is difficult because nowadays we have distractions everywhere: the agenda on the phone, the emails on the tablet or the computer, the news on the television etc. We therefore recommend you to separate the screen time from the time you spent with your children, for example you could watch the news while your children are taking a nap.
Set screen time limits and make a moral contract
The introduction of screens in the life of a child has to be regulated. This is done by limiting the time during which the child will be able to use the screen and by reminding him about this limitation when you ask him to stop. That way he will be waiting for that moment and will know how long it will last. It is also convenient to talk with him about what he has learned and seen. That way getting away from the screen will be more gradual. At Max & Lea, we believe that a moral contract with the child will teach him to be responsible to manage the time he spends in front of screens. It is about setting with him how much time he should spend in front of a screen and gradually making sure that he will stop by himself later on. That will also teach the child to respect rules and have self discipline.
Accompany the child as much as possible
We will never say often enough, that a child learns better when accompanied by an adult. Even if it can be tempting to let the child alone with a tablet or application, at Max & Lea we recommend to guide the child step by step. Let them manage the time they spend using a screen themselves but always keep an eye on their evolution. Discussing about what he has just learned afterwards allows the child to memorize what he learned.
Using a screen should never replace social activities or interactions
What we mean is that if it is possible to get the child to do other activities rather than being in front of a screen, then the first option should be preferred. In other words, the screen has to be used occasionally. The fact that the child has the right to use it for 30 minutes a day does not mean that it should become a daily activity. It is always better for them to play outside or practice educational activities at home. It is the best way for your child to develop and the healthiest way too.
A screen should not be a reward for bad behavior
A lot of parents are tempted to let the child in front of a screen to calm them down when they are overexcited. That may sometimes work, but the risk is that the content of the program may irritate the child even further. The loud sounds, special effects and fast images are exposing the child to so many stimuli at the same time, that this could have the opposite effect to the one desired. Especially because the child does not learn to control or to regulate his mood by himself. Which is essential for him to learn. Unfortunately, using a screen to calm a child down has the effect of rewarding difficult behavior.