I know that a lot of parents are seeking for a great and applicable way to control the amount of screen exposure their kids get from today’s everyday devices. Many parent's today are facing a screen time battle that I feel is harder and more complicated than it truly needs to be. So I've put together mine and my clients’ 4 Tried and True ways you can easily implement to control screen time in your home effectively with minimal meltdowns today.
The first step we do is create A Charging Home that’s “out of sight, out of mind” for your kids. Why? It really is as simple as making it not easily accessible for them. Our kids overuse screen time primarily because they can access it whenever they want. If you limit the access first, you are better able to control the environment. This will limit the battles and fights you have to have. Hiding the devices doesn’t have to be hard either. It can be as simple as a wood box in your closet or an actual charging locker like this one on Amazon. Just be sure to do what works for you. Also, make sure you remember to PUT IT BACK when they’re done using it!! Otherwise, you’ll just repeat the bad cycle.
The second step is creating virtual boundaries that are natural enforcers of your screen time rules. This is done by setting time limits that lock the screen and shut the device down when screen time is over. We can do this through parental control settings, router security settings and apps like OurPact. The best method is to have all of these things set up just in case. Setting a reminder timer for yourself works just as well to remind you too. This is why I teach parents this third step.
I feel like every parent can relate to the meltdown children have when screen time is over. However, few parents know this little secret to minimizing those meltdowns before they happen. It's all about Parental Media Mentoring. This can be as simple as actively engaging with your kids screen time activity. Forcing your kids to talk to you and tell you what is going on works wonders. It also gives you opportunities to talk about things that are happening. You can learn more about Parental Media Mentoring in this post.
The last tip is one that we often overlook simply because it comes natural to use. Giving our children alternate activities to do—for a brief period of time. Kids who have struggled with screen time withdrawals (also called ESS), need to be reminded of other activities they can do in place of screen time interaction. I’ve seen lots of my clients do bored jars, activity jars, quiet boxes, etc. to help kids become used to playing like “cave men” again.
These 4 steps are really the foundation of implementing boundaries and winning the screen time battle with your kids. If you want more ideas on how to implement and expand these steps, try taking my Create A Safe Virtual Playground as a family. It’s free, will definitely rock your world and will help you build stronger connections with your kids in your home.