Our society has grown so dependent on cell phones, iPads, TV, computers, and video games it is increasingly difficult to cut the proverbial power cord. I find that there is a constant battle between my kids and I to regulate screen time. Sometimes you simply need something to entertain them for a few minutes so you can get an uninterrupted shower! That being said, limiting screen time is very important, especially as kids head towards their own teen and young adult years.
One way to limit screen time is with setting specific times that screen time is allowed. In our house, no matter when we get home and eat, nobody turns on the TV until 6:45 pm. Not even for the news or a sports game update. Nobody.
We also keep a checklist of chores that need to be completed before screen time is allowed. Once the boxes are checked in full, a specific amount of screen time is earned.
Exercise can also be rewarded! Make a list of activities and reward completion with a few extra minutes of screen time (20 jumping jacks = 2 minutes, 15 minutes of walking the dog = 5 minutes). We like to do this on the weekends when there is extra time to burn.
Make screen time solitary time. Give kids a little time to chill out without mom and dad or little brothers and sisters bugging them. Offer a distraction free screen time zone so that they get a little more involved in what they are doing, but set firm time limits- quality screen time over quantity screen time.
And don’t forget, there’s virtually no way to avoid screen time, so do your best not to make it a fight but a privilege.