Wednesday 27 June 2018

Should we have more strict screen time rules for the children?

A few weeks ago I was browsing on social media somewhere and I came across a version of these screen time rules for children over the summer. Over the last few years I've seen lots of different versions copied and shared at this time of year.

I showed it to the children to see what they thought and must admit that their reaction wasn't particularly positive. They seem not to have noticed that they usually have to do many of these things anyway - dress, breakfast, brush teeth and hair - before we do any kind of activity, whether it's in front of a screen or not.

Apart from that, I must admit that we are very lax when it comes to enforcing any kind of screen time restrictions. I know that I just said they must be up and dressed and so on before starting the day, but when I say that I'm not counting the time that they spend on their iPads before breakfast when the husband and I are dozing before we have to get up!

Until now I've always been happy that the children do use screens, but that they can entertain themselves without one. Even though there can be a bit of overlap - for example recently Harry has become a bit obsessed with learning to complete a Rubik's cube, but he needs to refer to videos on YouTube to help him learn the moves. Mia likes to write stories, but prefers to type on a computer as it's quicker.

Recently though I've noticed that Mia in particular is struggling to entertain herself without a screen. She's quite capable of spending ages in her room with her teddies and other figures and will play complicated games by herself, but only when she takes herself off to do it. She's not very good at spontaneously entertaining herself if I decide that they need a screen break. She's always needed someone to play with and entertain her, and if Harry wants to play by himself or read a book then she gets cross, frustrated and whiny.

It's very easy to offer her a screen in these situations, because the alternative is me sitting down with her to do an activity or play a game, and often I have something that I want or need to do. But I'm well aware that this is a lazy approach, and it's something that I need to avoid otherwise it will only get worse.

I do try and spend time away from my phone around the children, and I'll read or work on a craft so that they can see examples of things to do that don't involve a screen. I think what I really need to do is come up with some kind of list of screen free activities that they could turn to - like reading, getting out a particular toy or an activity like Hama beads or play dough. I might need to start getting on with that now, ready for the holidays!

How do you manage screen time for your children over the summer holidays? I'd love any tips!

1 comment:

  1. My girls have 3 hours a day on electronics during the holidays and they can earn extra time by doing chores around the house. Our rule is that they don't use them before midday. It works well for us. x


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