Technology and kids.
That is a huge hot topic these days.
How much screen time is too much screen time?
How old should my child be before he has screentime/his own device?
These are all new questions we have to ask ourselves as parents, that our parents probably didn’t even consider when we grew up. You see, we are the first generation raising Digital Natives. We are the first ones who have to consider these things, and make rules and boundaries around screen time.
I can’t answer all these questions. I have some opinions on this, but the truth is that because we are the first generation raising kids in the age of iEverything, there hasn’t been studies or research to help guide us in these decisions.
But, there is one thing that I do know…
Free playtime is probably the most important thing for a child’s overall development. So, it’s important to make sure that children get plenty of time to just play. By controlling the amount of screen time a child gets, we free them up to play.
But often times screen time can cause a lot of tension between parents and kids. Children always seem to want more time on it than their parents want them to have.
So how do you control the screen time without all the temper tantrums and frustration?
Here’s one big tip that can help you control the screen time.
Make it part of your routine.
By having technology as a part of your daily routine, you get to control when and how much. For us, my sons watch 2 tv shows in the morning and then it’s off for the rest of the day. We also have a family movie night every Friday, but that’s it.
For tablet time, we allow it two times during the day for a max of 30 minutes. They get to play after all their evening chores are done (picking up toys, pajamas on, and teeth brushed). My four year old also gets some time right after lunch, before quite time. His tablet is put away the rest of the day.
We are really happy with the amount of technology time we have for our kids. It doesn’t overrun our house, but yet, they still get some time on their devices.
When children have schedules around screen time, they are less likely to even ask for it. And if they do ask for it, all you have to do is remind them that they will have it during their scheduled time.
What tips do you have for controlling the screen time?
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We have a set of rules when it comes to screen time. Our 2 boys (6 and 8) are not allowed any on a school day and one hour on a weekday in the holidays and 2 hours on the weekend.
To have screen time though they have to have meet some requirements. …
They have to have read something for at least 20mins,
Done something physical for at least 1 hour,
done something creative or productive for at least 30mins,
their beds must be made and bedrooms tidy,
and they have to have done one chore.
this sounds a lot when it is written down but we have always limited screen time for them and because of that they don’t ask for it and generally don’t cause too many problems when time is up.
but the best bit about our list of requirements is they get distracted in their own play. Tell them to go and do something creative for half an hour and 3 hours of lego later they remember that they were wanting to play video games!
I’m always asking other parents how they monitor their kids’ “Tech Time” (which is what we call it at our house). My son did not watch TV until he was 2 because we wanted to follow the recommendations by our national pediatric society. After 2, when we started to allow TV, we were unsure how much was too much. I’ve heard different numbers quoted, but you’re right – being the first generation to grow up this way – there’s not a lot of research, which is what I try and rely on for advice. I think your idea is a great one. We also try and make it a routine at our house. The TV is not allowed to go on until 7am – and we usually limit it to 45 minutes (about 2 shows usually). Then it’s time to go off to school or get started with our day. My son constantly asks for TV though, and still has difficulty when it’s time to turn it off. I think I’ll try your approach and just make the guidelines clearer and see what happens. Thanks for your advice Amanda!