Children are overexposed to screens during the winter holidays, how can we keep them better occupied?

Children are overexposed to screens during the winter holidays, how can we keep them better occupied?

A survey published on February 8 reveals: winter holidays are those during which children spend almost two hours per day on average in front of a screen. More than during the summer holidays. How can they better spend their time? Here are a few tips.

Because it’s cold, or because there are fewer things to do than at Christmas or in summer, our children would be in front of a screen much more during the February holidays than at any other time of the year . A situation highlighted by an Opinions Way survey published this Thursday, January 8 and commissioned by Tonies, a digital storyteller publishing company.

1h56 per day on average

The survey focused on children aged between 3 and 10 years old and attempted to quantify this pastime.

  • During this study, 97% of parents declared that their children spent on average 1 hour 56 minutes per day in front of a screen, compared to 1 hour 48 minutes during the summer holidays and 1 hour 17 minutes during school time;
  • Nearly half of parents (46%) even say that their children watch screens for more than two hours a day during these holidays.

A fact that could be explained by weather conditions and… boredom. In fact, 68% of children spend the winter holidays at home or with other family members and 59% of children also admit to preferring to stay warm rather than playing outside.

Uninhibited parents… Or overwhelmed?

But at this age, children who use screens are also the product of parents who let them do so. On this subject, the vast majority (74%) consider themselves fair or cool in their approach to screens. And 6% admit that they feel overwhelmed by events. On the other hand, nearly 8 out of 10 parents want their children to spend less time in front of screens and 7 out of 10 fear the negative consequences. So what to do?

Tips for looking up from screens

The good news is that aware of the time wasted, many parents are looking for solutions to reduce their children’s screen time. Several solutions seem to emerge, from which we can draw inspiration:

  • Set up a time limit. Of course, during the holidays we can be more flexible on the rules and times, but while proposing a limit per day or at certain times (no more than an hour, not at bedtime, etc.). The rest of the time should be spent on other activities;
  • Suggest activities to punctuate the day. 74% of parents say they opt for family activities and outings as a solution, which have the advantage of strengthening family ties. This can be walks, outings, board games, cooking, etc.;
  • Lead by example. In order to encourage reduced behavior, a third of parents also plan to reduce their screen consumption during vacations and family time;
  • Share their screen time. Vacations and a change of pace can also be an opportunity to use screens, yes, but in another way. Share this moment with them, get to know their games, talk together about what they discover, use educational applications… In short, don’t leave them stuck to their screen in their room!
About author

Maria Teolis is a psychologist. Collaborator at the Elpis Center of Ispra (Varese) multidisciplinary study specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of developmental disorders (behavioral disorders, learning, etc.), psychotherapy for children and adults, psychomotor, pedagogical, speech therapy, educational and osteopathic treatment, where she deals with training activities and strengthening specific skills and is involved in different types of projects aimed at children and adolescents. It collaborates with a cooperative offering educational and support services to children and young people with behavioral problems, learning or problems of different nature related to the evolutionary sphere. Attentive to the aspects of psycho-motor development, she carries out activities with children aimed at strengthening and increasing motor, emotional and relational skills. She currently attends a master in Sports Psychology. [email protected]