Limiting screen time is always a battle, especially in summer. Your kids may have gotten used to increased screen time during the pandemic and will probably push back against you. The battle over smart devices like phones, tablets, gaming systems, and laptops can sometimes feel like too much.
As a parent with two teenage sons, I know the stress of trying to wrangle kids off their devices to have them do chores or even settle down for bedtime. The struggle is real! If left unchecked, too much screen time can lead to sleeplessness, irritability, and depression. No matter what devices your children play on, if you're wanting an easy way to help reduce stress in your life when it comes to allowing reasonable screen time this summer, follow these tips:
1. Make sure you set clear rules and consequences.
You probably relaxed on those screen time rules during the pandemic and now that things are almost back to normal, you're having a heck of a time trying to reinstate them. Whenever you introduce your kids to technology, you need to set rules so there is no misunderstanding of how technology is supposed to be used.
If you want your kids to do homework or chores before technology use, make sure they understand that upfront. If they are only supposed to play on their devices as opposed to your company laptop, you need to tell them. Sometimes you will sound like a broken record, but you need to keep reminding them what the rules are. Also, don't forget to stand firm with consequences if they don't follow your rules. Don't be afraid to take devices so they understand you mean business.
2. Set a good example as a parent when it comes to your devices.
You are probably using your devices for work, but you also have to set a good example when it comes to your technology usage. If your kids see you constantly on your devices, then it sends a signal to them that they should be on them too. Set limits for yourself when using technology around your children.
3. Parents, everyone has to be on board with limiting screen time.
Traditional home life, blended home life, or divorced home life, it doesn't matter. Everyone has to be on the same page when it comes to technology usage during the school year and during the summer months. If one parent is using technology as a babysitter and another parent has consistent rules when it comes to device limits, it's just going to cause confusion and frustration with your kids. Please, please, please ... I'm begging like James Brown, everyone get on board so you can have less stress.
4. Take devices away at night.
There is no good reason children should have tech devices at night. This means you've enabled parental controls to shut those devices down after a certain time. It means you're not allowing your children to take devices to bed with them. If you don't, you will wake up to a sleep-deprived child who decided they needed to have an all-night marathon playing their favorite game with strangers, some of whom could be attempting to groom your child for a face-to-face meeting.
5. Make sure you set up other outdoor 'distractions' that will take them away from their devices.
Things have opened back up again. Take your kids out of the house and leave those devices behind. Day trips, picnics, the list is endless of things you and your kids can do
6. Setup a 'No Tech' Zone for your kids.
My wife always shares a story of an event that took place years ago when I made kids visiting stack their phones on the dining room table as we ate. You should do the same when it comes to areas of your home. Your child doesn't need a device in every room. They get too distracted. Areas you could make no tech zones include bedrooms, dining rooms, and even outdoors and road trips. This helps your children realize they don't need to have a device with them for every step they take in life.
I hope you can use these tips to help you limit screen time for those kids in your life. Technology devices are designed to keep you and your children plugged in 24/7. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!
Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I'm serious about making technology fun and easy to use for everyone.