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Our son is 5 years old, and since home schooling he had been very distracted he has 0% interest in studying or practicing or reading.Even with his lessons on MS Teams, he seem to draw his own his mind and not follow teacher or least look involved. His teacher told us that he was in top 5 student and now he is in student who are really weak.

He can watch youtube videos all day, switch to his gaming console and then tv for whole day and still won't loose interest. I don't mind him watching something that help him do something or learn something but he watches kids playing minecraft, Ryan's TV or hobby TV. He has very keen interest in cars and robots.

I understand lockdown has made everyone annoyed for staying at home but I want his habits to diverge towards studying, doing activities, playing outside of nitendo switch etc.

How can I make it happen?

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  • You should find a practicable way with your child to design rules about the time and amount of "screentime" (not counting the homeschooling into amount, but maybe in the "timetable"). And find a representation, that your son can understand. I used last year a cardboard with a drawed clock and a pointer to show the amount that was used and the amount that can be used later. In the end my son was reasonable enough to add his watched time to this and set the pointer his own. I know it is difficult, especially if you can not overwatch your child for example due to homeoffice. But it is important. – Allerleirauh Feb 6 at 20:49
  • Even if you can not find a solution yet, you can talk to your son, that this is a special time (he even knows, because he has school at home and so on) and that this behavior is exception and will not be endure after the live becomes "normal" again. – Allerleirauh Feb 6 at 20:51
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He’s five, so his TV (and iPad and game console and...) time should be minimal and you still have the authority to simply cut it. Of course, there’s school work and remote lessons, but I see no reason why he should have unlimited access.

The next step for me would be to make sure that there’s a good selection of “material” available, ranging from his usual toys and books, but also including household items (blankets? a broomstick? a few boxes? a ball of string), crafts materials - and you can really use nearly everything down to (reasonably clean and safe) trash.

Then I would do nothing.

The inner impulse to do something, explore the available options and get creative is strong at that age. And boredom sparks creativity. Yes, we want our children to be active, we want to offer and suggest “good” activities, but if you want to encourage “creating” something vs. “consuming” something (TV, computer games), you need to let him develop his own ideas. This is also a valuable exercise in delayed gratification. Consider how computer games are designed to to trigger very frequent psychological rewards and how much effort it is in comparison to craft something before the gratification of having made something.

If your locale permits (considering the Covid rules and your environment), send or take him outside. At that age, kids need to just run around, jump, climb on things and generally move a lot. You can’t expect academic performance without physical exertion. There’s a lot of energy pent up in a five year old and that needs to go somewhere.

The other approach I would recommend (and they are not mutually exclusive) is to include him in whatever you are doing around the house. A five year old can participate (note that I avoid the term “help”, I am not talking about chores here) in doing laundry, cooking meals, cleaning up, small repairs, gardening,... - you will also teach him about “life” in so many valuable ways by just letting him tag along. Yes, after lockdown he probably won’t be able to do the family’s laundry, but perhaps start a pre-sorted load?

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Stephie hit it spot on. At 5, his world is entirely created by your choices. Screens and the media on them triggers strong hormone responses in humans, specially young ones, they are carefully crafted to.
Creativity, problem solving and internal motivation grow from necessity, and boredom is a fantastic and safe motivator. Choose some small weekend time for some not school screen time, and stick with it. Make it clear and consistent to remove the risk of tension and debate.
Then get some projects, craft items, parent and kid chores, or just schedule a daily 20 min walk. If your kids says, “I’m bored” say honestly with encouragement, “awesome, have fun!” They will be a healthier, more well rounded, creative, and more resilient person for the experience.

And while you are at it, model good tech choices, we parents cant get way too wrapped up in our screens too! Turn off your screen with them and enjoy that walk!!

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