(NEW YORK) — With millions of children prevented from attending school because of the novel coronavirus, parents are struggling to keep them busy at home. Even after schoolwork, there are hours in the day left to fill.
The American Academy of Pediatrics told Good Morning America in an email, “AAP recognizes many children will be using more screen media now, whether for entertainment, education, or social connection.”
One of the organization’s top tips for managing the screens is to make a plan.
“Talk with your kids about what your daily structure will be, how you will handle stress, and when you will take breaks from tele-work or schoolwork to relax and connect with each other,” the AAP wrote on its website.
“While limits are still important, under these stressful circumstances, kids’ screen media use will likely increase,” the AAP said.
Other tips include:
- Podcasts and audiobooks are great ways to keep children’s minds engaged while parents get things done.
- Find offline activities that help family relax and communicate. Take walks outside, play board games, read together, have family dance parties. Know which activities spark your children’s interest (kicking the ball around? baking?) and make time for them.
- Create the space for family members to talk about their worries.
- Parents — notice your own technology use. When you’re getting too sucked into news or social media feeds and it’s stressing you out, children can notice. Take a break to protect your own mental health, too.
“Limits are still important. As the timeline of social distancing is uncertain, try to stick to routines,” the AAP wrote. “Make sure technology use does not take the place of sleep, physical activity, reading, reflective downtime, or family connection.”
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