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Does it ever feel like all your kids do is stare at a screen, day after day, hour after hour? Don’t you wish there was a simple way to limit screen time for kids, without fighting with them all the time?
Good news! It’s possible to do so while avoiding meltdowns.
With a few simple tricks, you can make sure your kiddos don’t overindulge in electronics. Once you know HOW to limit screen time, it’s important that you’re consistent.
As homeschoolers, we have to monitor the amount of time our kids are on electronics or it can quickly get out of control. One funny YouTube video leads to another, then another and before you know it, the whole day is gone.
4 Tips to Limit Screen Time for Kids
Set a Good Example:
This seems obvious but sometimes it’s easier said than done. When your kids see you staring at a screen, they tend to do the same. Show them how to healthily balance screen time with outdoor time, family time and your other interests.
If you’re addicted to your phone, start small. Try only using your phone after dinner every night. Once you can do that without struggle, try doing a “No-tech Tuesday,” where you don’t use any technology on Tuesdays. Keep minimizing your screen time until you’re happy with the amount of time you’re spending on screens each day.
Once a month, take an entire week off of electronics. That means no Facebook, YouTube, XBox, mindless scrolling or TV.
If you pay close attention, you can tell when your kids start to spend too much time on phones and tablets and need some human interaction. They’ll get cranky, hateful and short with you. This is THE perfect time to unplug and refocus your attention to other things you enjoy doing.
When attempting a screen-free week, have a plan in place, to help keep the kids’ mind off of electronics. If they’re bored, they’ll want to grab a controller and veg out in front of a screen.
Instead, make plans to spend the day at the pool, visiting friends, doing artwork or going for a hike. Having a plan in place makes it much easier to cope and helps you not give in during your weak moments!
Let’s be honest: technology is a huge part of our lives and we’re only growing more and more dependent on it. When I was a kid, we were lucky if we got to watch cartoons on a Saturday morning. Now, kids have hundreds of channels at any given time. We have access to the entire world wide web in our pockets and even on our wrists!
Instead of viewing technology as a bad thing, make it work for you! Only allow your kiddos to watch YouTube after they’ve watched something educational. (We’ve got tons of options for educational shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney Plus, YouTube and Curiosity Stream!)
Make Them Earn It:
If your kids aren’t getting anything done besides staring at their devices, this is the perfect solution for you! Make them earn their screen time by doing chores, reading books or helping around the house.
We printed out a simple list of things our kids can do to earn free time on their devices and it’s been a dream come true for us! Especially our youngest, who has a slight addiction to his X Box One.
Here’s how we make it work for us:
- Each kiddo is allowed one hour of “free time” each day. During the school year, they can’t take their free time during school hours. So they can generally use it anytime between about 2 pm until bedtime, with the exception of dinnertime.
- I don’t limit their time if what they are watching or doing is educational. For instance, if they’re watching videos on Homeschool History, I allow them to do so for as long as they wish because I know they’re learning.
- I printed the list of ways to earn free time and filled in the blank copy with extra chores that needed done. I hung these lists on the fridge, so they’re always easy to find for the whole family.
- Each kiddo asks me BEFORE completing the chores for extra screen time. This allows me to say “Yes, that chore does need done.” or “Nope, your brother did that yesterday. Pick another chore.” This has saved us many, many arguments and meltdowns!
- I keep the “Screen Bucks” in a certain place that I can easily keep an eye on. I don’t think my kids would sneak them from me, but I don’t want to tempt them. They’re kept put away in our “junk drawer” in the kitchen. Someone would hear the kids rummaging around, if they were trying to be sneaky. I really don’t NEED to worry about this because the kids cash them in so fast, I can easily keep track of how many each kiddo has earned. If you’re concerned, you could keep a notebook with the details of each ticket. Simply write down the date, what chores were completed and then make a note when the kiddo cashes in their coupon.
- I printed off a few extra blank papers so I can change up the chores as needed. In the summer, I add “weed the flowerbeds” to the list, while winter includes “carry in fire wood.” Make the system work for your family!!!
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If you’re struggling to limit screen time for kids, have a plan in place and you’ll make it much easier on the whole family!