Last week I asked a question on my personal Facebook page regarding screen time rules for children. The question was; Do you allow your kids to have screen time during the week, if so, how long? I got lots of similar responses but only a couple of moms actually admitted to purposely giving extra screen time to their children just to be able to get things done.
This made me think deeper into the subject and wonder if more moms actually encourage screen time just to get through the day. Listen, no judgement on my part if that’s what works for you. There was definitely a time in our lives when we too encouraged it. But things have changed drastically around here since those days. There’s screen time rules for sure in this house. The kind that are set on stone and are meant to be followed.
I constantly have friends telling me horror stories about the constant battle between them, their children and their screens. These stories are usually followed by a “how do you do it with your boys?” Before I can even answer that question, I am left flabbergasted by their situations. How can this even be an issue? Ladies, and gentlemen too, WE are the authority in the house! WE make up the rules. We say what goes and what doesn’t. NOT THE KIDS. Screen time rules are so important!! Ok, sorry y’all, but this just gets me fired up! haha!
Ok, so before I get into what the rules are in our house, I want to just say that we are by no means perfect parents. We do what works best for our family and in no way am I trying to judge or undermine your rules or believes at home.
I should also mention that our kids do not own an iPad, Nintendo game systems or video game consoles. They also do not have a tv in their room. Evan does have his own phone this year. Mostly for convenience purposes (for me) since he does practice (baseball) at different fields and times than his brother does and I can’t always be with him. The boys also share a desktop computer which is in their room. The computer is also where most of their screen time happens.
Read on along if you’re interested or maybe just curious to know what screen time rules work for us.
Screen Time Rules That Work For Our Family
• No TV during dinner – Erick enforces this one a lot more than I do. He does not allow the tv to be on during dinner time. We’ve made it a point to teach our boys the importance of eating dinner as a family and actually enjoying each others company and talking about our day. Dinner time is a great time to bond and share our stories. The boys love it and I’m sure they will remember it for ever;) I do understand that this might a bit more difficult with toddlers and babies involved. But I promise you, the lack of screens, of any kind on the table will make it 10x less chaotic
• No Screen time before chores are completed -It is never ok to get on the computer, watch tv or get on the phone before all assigned chores are completed. This includes unpacking after school, doing homework & cleaning rooms. This is definitely the hardest, especially after a long day at school. I usually allow ten minutes for them to grab a snack and drink before going upstairs to complete their chores and homework. After all is done they are free for the evening, if there’s not baseball that evening, and get their 30 min of screen time. And PLEASE don’t be fooled. Evan almost ALWAYS tries to be sneaky and steals and extra 20 minutes!
• No screen time in public places – I hate to see their face buried in the phone screen when we’re eating out, or in the grocery store or at the mall. We do lend them our phones on days when we have long shooting hours.
• No screen time when we have company over – We are a bit more lenient with this one. But for the most part if they’ve got grandma & grandpa over, we are definitely not doing phones or computer! They have to learn to have real face to face conversations with other people. This will help them build social skills which will come in handy when they start becoming young adults. Now if it’s their cousins or friends who come over, then a little screen time will be allowed. But, I do still encourage them to play outside.
• Fighting over screen time = No screen time at all – So the boys are both allowed 30 minutes on the computer or one hour for both if they’re taking turns. Of course boys are boys, especially if they’re 4 years apart. So if I hear any arguing, fighting or tattle-telling after three warrings have been given, computer shuts off. No if’s or but’s! This rule is mostly implemented for my own sanity 😉
• You break screen time rules, you deal with the consequences – Evan has broken the rules plenty of times! Which has resulted in a week or two with no phone or computer.
•Low grades at school = No screen time – This has only happened once, but the rule is; if there’s a low grade on progress report, they have till report card to bring it up or else screen privilege are lost till next grading period. Sounds kinda harsh I know, but we try to replace that lost screen time with reinforcement and review of the subject they are having trouble with. So, we’re pretty much helping them raise that grade which in turn means screen time is returned;)
• Rules will be enforced at ALL times – This last rule is for Erick & myself. A reminder that our rules are to be enforces at all times. Even when they give us those cute sad puppy face looks. We believe this is teaching our kids that we are the authority in our home and that our rules are meant to be followed. It also teaches them discipline which is a very important skill to teach at an early age.
These rules may sound a little harsh to my millennial parents, but they work for our family. It’s a norm for our kids and they are ok with it. Plus they are so into their sport that they don’t really feel like they’re missing out. Fingers crossed this doesn’t change!
I hope you’re encouraged to go home and make your own rules or follow ours if you’d like. Do keep in mind that every kid is different and that what works for mine might not work for yours