When it comes to setting boundaries for your child’s screen time, it can be anything but easy. It’s hard to resist the convenience of letting your children watch TV so that you can finish your housework. Let’s face it, they won’t complain, either. Children today typically average about 7 hours of electronic use in a single day, which for my kids is just too much! However, I also have a hard time finding a happy medium between too much screen time and the right amount. This is why I started setting screen time boundaries for my kids. Here is how you can learn to do the same for yours.
Set a Time Limit
Decide ahead of time how much screen time you want your children to have each day, and keep track of it on a paper or a printable. Start by slowly scaling back the amount of TV time, and in a couple of weeks, you’ll find that sweet spot. Just make sure that when the time is up, the screens go off!
Turn Off the Screens If No One is Watching Them
How many of you leave the TV running as background noise? I’m guilty of it myself! One of the most effective ways to limit screen time is by turning off the TV when it’s not being actively watched. Kids tend to get distracted easily, so they may stop watching TV in favor of playing with something instead. Go ahead and turn off the TV, and let them focus their attention on whatever toy they’re playing with.
Set Up a Screen Time Schedule
Perhaps your children have a favorite show they like to watch, or you enjoy watching a certain show as a family each night. A great way to limit your screen time throughout the day is by allowing your kids to only watch during certain times. For example, I let them watch one show while I’m making breakfast and dinner, so I’m not distracted while cooking.
Have Your Kids Earn Their TV Time
Some children today act like they are entitled to a certain amount of TV time. Instead of allowing them to have a set amount of time, make them earn it! In our home, kids earn a certain amount of TV time depending on how many chores they complete. If nothing is done, no TV that day!
Choose Quality Shows Over Mindless TV
If you decide to allow your kids TV time, it doesn’t mean they have to watch useless shows all day. You are the one who is in control of what your children watch and what they are exposed to. Depending on what your child is studying and their age, you can choose educational television or limit shows. If your children have summer reading projects this year, try to encourage them by allowing them to watch the movie when they’ve finished the book.
Our family is far from perfect, and some days our kids watch entirely too much TV. However, setting boundaries for your children’s screen time will help them do more during the day and keep them from lounging in front of the TV all day.