Screen time is a privilege! If you have a child between the ages of 8 & 14 you already know just how persuasive they can be, it’s legit impressive…they know how to tug on those heartstrings just enough, to the point of practically teetering on manipulation. They also seem to have amazing selective memory skills, they can list the last 8 times their sibling used their screens, what they were wearing when they used them, & the exact amount of time they used it for, yet can’t seem to remember where they put their shoes 2 minutes ago. They will undoubtably use both their persuasion skills, & selective memory skills to convince you, the parent, that they are not only worthy, but clearly due their screen time, it’s only fair! Oh, and I also forgot their MOST extraordinary skill, perseverance…yup, I’m even talking about that child who quits everything, not this, they are relentless, & they will strike when they know we are at our weakest….ya, know, after they’ve asked a dozen time & we are entering our REM sleep cycle, lol! And that brings us to our first tip!
- Parents NEED to stick to their guns! Parents you can’t waiver, no matter how persuasive kiddos may be or how sick & tired you may become of hearing them beg. Once you establish the rules for screen time you can’t waiver.
- Screen time is a privilege! This really needs to be embedded into their memory. In our home screen time is a special right granted to children who complete their chores and homework. Once those are both completed screen time can be given. But what if they don’t complete their homework and chores until it’s time for screens to be on sleep mode, (which is 8pm in our house on weekdays)? Well then, no screen time that day. End of discussion. This is a great rule for children to understand because as an adult they are going to need to establish boundaries & self-control with technology.
- Screens are to be used in community spaces & parents have the right to do a screen check whenever they wish. I firmly believe that there should be nothing they need to hide from us, and likewise, I’ve allowed my children to use my phone on occasion, & I have nothing I need to hide from them…I can’t help but think back to the house phone, answering machine, & home computer days, when everyone in the family shared those devices, those were good times. And while I realize we can’t go back & we need to acclimate children with today’s technology we don’t need to throw them into the deep end & say good luck!
- Screens can be confiscated at any time & grounded till further notice by parent. Likewise, screen time can be awarded to their weekend screen time due to exceptional behavior. Since screen time is a privilege it can be taken away if a parent deems appropriate. But what if the child needs it for a school project? Parent can decide if they will grant use, or there is always the public library. Extra screen time can be awarded on the weekend as a reward….kids usually appreciate this most in the wintertime, lol!
- Screens live in the charging station– Screens are to be placed on the charger, shut off, & charging (if needed) at 8pm on the weeknights. (I love this charging station because it holds & charges up to 5 devices at a time, isn’t bulky, doesn’t take up much counter space, & it has a light, so I don’t have to leave the larger kitchen lights on when kiddos charge their devices at night.) Phones are only removed before chores and homework are done if a child has an afterschool activity & a parent might need to get a hold of them…otherwise only once their homework and chores are completed.