The Screen Time Rules

Screen time – it is the thorn in every parent’s side. We lean on it as a babysitter even when we don’t want to because sometimes the chores just have to get done, or mom needs a break.

Research reported by Forbes says that screen time can be good within certain perimeters like when playing games or watching shows as a family or “coviewing.” You would be amazed the skills that kids can learn from playing video or web games. Many teach a variety of problem solving skills, and some offer up algebra and strategic planning with their zombies.

According to an article on NPR, screen time is affecting our children’s ability to recognize faces and emotions in addition to the classic problems of disturbed sleep schedules, childhood obesity, and behavior problems. 

The Screen Time RulesSome other pros and cons of screen time are:

Screen time Pros

  • Life is moving more digital and by using screen time (in the classroom and at home) our kids won’t be behind.
  • It’s quick and easy to pull out a phone, tablet, or Nintendo DS while waiting for an appointment and keeps our kids from destroying waiting rooms.
  • Mom and Dad can get a much needed break.
  • It is fun! 

Screen time Cons

  • Our kids don’t know what it is like to be bored or to make their own fun.
  • It hurts our bodies physically through eye strain, brain development, and other issues.
  • It has taken away from analog activities like reading and drawing.

How We Made a Change in our House

During Hurricane Irma our family was lucky enough to not lose power or internet. We never had to worry about keeping the kids, or ourselves, entertained because there were more than enough tvs, tablets, and video game systems to go around. I rely’d heavily on this during the week after the hurricane when there was no school, because there was also no parks to go run around at because of debris. 

The Monday that they went back to school after the hurricane we made a change. Limits were placed on screen time in our house and tracked in a note on my phone that was shared with my husband. We were met with a LOT of push back and anger {and still are on occasion}.  

The Screen Time Rules

We decided that the kids could have 2 hours of screen time during the week and 4 hours on the weekends with the ability to bank their time as long as they wanted. More screen time could be earned by doing chores or physical activities {like jumping jacks}. However, it could also be taken away for poor behavior. There would also be exceptions like the occasional family movie night or our weekly viewing of the new DuckTales series on Disney. They would also not be penalized screen time if they were at a playdate.

I have never been someone who believed in limits to screen time because I didn’t want anyone limiting my screen time. I am so grateful that we have done this and that it has stuck so well because the energy in our house has changed {for the better}.

Changes We Have Seen

I’m not talking about just the small changes like not having to listen to Dan TDM, Evantube, and Kingdom Hearts day in and day out. I am talking about the fact that my kids are READING so many books a day. They bring books with them everywhere and are asking to go to the library almost weekly. I don’t want to brag {yes I do} they are all smashing their personal AR goals at school because they are reading harder books and passing test after test each week. In the past I have struggled to get my oldest to read any Sunshine State books and he has already read three in the past month!

They kids have also started doing more analog and creative play on their own. This weekend my trio worked together to make, play with, and clean up Oobleck all on their own. They have been building things out of popsicle sticks and even playing flashcard games. The floor has been lava and my couch cushions erected into forts of all sorts. 

Possibly my favorite change of all has been the changes to their sleep habits! After almost 10 years I am finally not waking up before 6am every single day. They have stopped putting up a fight when we tell them it is time to go to bed and better yet they aren’t waking up at 5am ready to roll.

Do You Have Screen Time Limits in Your House?

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