Is too much screen time hurting my child’s reading skills?

Is too much screen time hurting my child’s reading skills?
Over the pandemic, many parents rethought how much screen time was acceptable for children. Kids who had previously been allowed only an hour of screen time every day were now spending most of their time in video calls for class and social activities. Many families also loosened up restrictions on how much time kids could spend in front of the television, since parents working from home couldn’t send their children to daycare. As lockdowns end and in-person schooling resumes, families are rethinking the amount of time their children spend in front of screens. If you’re trying to change your family’s computer, phone, and television habits, consider these tips for using screens responsibly.

Make screen time educational, not addictive

Not all time spent in front of a television or a computer is the same. Consider finding educational television programs and video games for your children, so they can continue learning even during their “down time.” For younger children, a video game like Reader Rabbit can help foster literacy skills. For older kids, educational sites like Khan Academy can keep them involved in their favorite subjects.

Make screen time a family event, not a solitary endeavor

Don’t teach your kids that playing on a computer or a phone is something they have to sneak off to do in private. Look for collaborative games and find television shows the family can enjoy together. Turning screen time into a social activity is a great chance to model good behavior for your children. Teach them how to enjoy activities in moderation, how to play games calmly, and how to handle disappointment about a show or a game without melting down.

Find books about your child’s favorite television characters

Children’s television programming is designed to be educational as well as fun for kids. As part of that educational mission, most kids’ TV shows and movies have tie-in books about your child’s favorite characters going on adventures. Some of them will mimic the episodes of a television show, with a plot that plays out over an illustrated book instead of a short animated or live-action segment. Others may be in the format of interactive activity books, notebooks, or even dictionaries! At Penwizard, we've worked with television and movie studios to create personalized books that put your child at the center of a story with their favorite characters. If you're looking for offline activities that can get your child interested in reading, you can choose a book designed for fans of Peppa Pig, the PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, and more!