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Kids Getting Too Much Screen Time? Try Getting Philosophical With Them.

Laura Rice/Texas Standard
For parents trying to work from home during the pandemic, letting their children have more screen time has been a way to manage. But parents can try engaging them after that screen time.

From Texas Standard:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced this week that day care businesses can reopen. But some parents may be hesitant to send kids back right away, wary about the spread of the coronavirus. On top of that, some may have lost their jobs and aren't able to afford it anymore.

All of that means that some parents will continue to juggle a child’s needs at home while working a full-time job, or other demands. And it could result in a lot more screen time for kids than they were getting before the pandemic.

So how do parents manage that screen time, especially when experts advise no more than one hour per day for kids in early childhood?

Iris Oved is executive director of San Francisco’s The Paradox Lab. She shared a list of questionsthrough San Francisco's Children's Creativity Museum blog that parents can use to engage kids’ brains after screen time. For younger kids, that conversation might start pretty simply.

“One of the ways that I get [my 3-year-old] off the screen is to say, 'We can think about Peppa Pig, and we can think about what she did today,'” Oved said.

For older kids, the prompts may be a little more complicated.

What makes something a pig?” Oved said. “Does it have to be pink? Does it have to have a curly tail? Does it have to have four legs? Are all things that are pink and have curly tails and four legs, pigs?”

She said the more interesting the questions, the less likely it will feel to kids like an educational exercise. But it may take some experimentation; each child will respond differently.

“They’re just so curious and want to figure things out and really want to understand the world, right? The 'why' questions,” Oved said.

So how does Oved's method work in practice? Listen to the audio in the player above to hear Texas Standard Managing Producer Laura Rice test it on her toddler.

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Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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