Screen time is a topic I have carefully avoided. I even wrote up an entire screen time section in Raising a Creative Kid and ended up leaving it out. I guess it’s because as a person I love TV, I need the computer to work and once upon a time I was pretty good at video games. As a parent though, I follow a very different set of rules. I primarly have Big M to thank for that.
He came out running… almost literally. By 7 months old he was walking. And quickly. His fascination with exploring the world around him kept me on my toes, and kept him engaged all the time. But if you turned on the TV, no matter what it was, he froze. Even thinking about it today makes my stomach turn. Is that really the affect the screen has? Turning my extremely active kid into a statue? YUCK! If the result had been less dramatic I may not have even noticed. But I did notice and so did my husband.
We are not a NO SCREEN TIME family. I can see the benefits of getting rid of it all together but for us, I think a limited schedule works just fine.
It was a comment my very good friend shared on Facebook that inspired this post. She is fairly new mother to her 10 year old step son. Does this sound familiar?
“Last night I took his laptop and DVD player away, temporarily. Today he helped me prep a pot roast, went outside to jump rope and play ball in the yard with the dogs….and now, he’s…..reading. **this is my bliss**” Lacy
The benifis of limited screen time
- When the screens go off the chance to create is available. With my own kids I find that once the option of screen time has been eliminated they have no problem finding something creative, fun and hands on to do.
- Limiting screen time makes it easier to monitor what your kids are actually watching and playing.
- When it’s limited, screen time becomes an effective aid. If I need to make a phone call or take a shower (hee hee) I know that they will sit still and watch. That probably wouldn’t be true if it was on all day.
- Chatting, connecting and really listening is so much easier with no back ground noise.
Setting up a Screen Time schedule
- Figure out which screens you will include. At our house screen time covers TV, video games, and computer time.
- Reach an agreement before you make a rule. With your spouse… not with the kids. Even if you don’t have exactly the same ideas for how much screen time is appropriate, finding a middle ground will help make the transition easier on everyone.
- Be consistent but not rigid. There will be days that the TV will stay on too long or a new video game will make stopping so hard. Once you’ve been limiting screen time for a while having “treat” days won’t be too big of a deal. Just make sure to get back into the set routine as quickly as possible.
What to do now that the Screen is off
- Remember that screen time is at best a habit and at worst an addiction. When you first start limiting screen time, you will probably find yourself in the middle of a few battles. Be patient and try to understand where your kids are coming from.
- What to do? Ah, so glad you asked. Play dress up, read some books or get moving.
- Do nothing. Once the option is taken away… wait and see what fun things the kids come up with on their own.
Do you limit screen time? What tips and tricks can you share? Let me know how it goes if you try something new!