Screen time for kids is a huge topic of conversation among parents. Many parents fear their kids have too much. Applying limits and setting boundaries can cause constant arguments in families.
I have 1 idea and 3 strategies to make today the last day you have a fight with your kids about their screen time.
The big idea here is you should stop fighting with your kids. I’ve got 6 kids ranging from 3 years to 13 years old. I hate arguments! Sometimes I feel like a strange cross between a boxing referee, a forensic detective, and a trauma counselor. Arguments suck.
I’ve learned how to stop the arguments about screen time, though. You can, too!
Just stop fighting.
I’m not kidding. That is my big idea. Stop arguing, ranting, or nagging. I know that probably sounds too simple, but let me tell you the three strategies that have brought peace to my home.
Relax your expectations of screen time for kids
It seems as if the entire world is under some form of lockdown or another. Our children feel stuck indoors for longer than ever. Covid-19 has upended their lives. They aren’t going to school. They’re not seeing their friends. They can’t go to their sports practices, clubs, or even just head to the park.
This is the best time for you to relax.
Maybe, like me, you are normally strict about their screen time.
Over the next few weeks and months, your kids might enjoy extra digital entertainment. Video games and Netflix will not ruin your child’s life during this pandemic. In fact, my kids already weirdly appreciate Covid-19 because they get extra screen time. We’ve turned a tough lockdown period into something they have enjoyed.
My relaxation of control and expectations has prevented a lot of fighting over devices and screen time.
Renegotiate the screen time for kids deal
You negotiated a “Screen Time for Children” deal with your kids. Even if you don’t remember it, you and your kids worked together to set everyone’s expectations about how much screen time is acceptable.
Now is the time to renegotiate.
You can talk to your kids. You could say something like, “I want you to enjoy your video games and TV shows. I also want you to do other stuff, too. What is your recommended screen time limit?”
Whatever they say, push back on it and negotiate. Once you agree a time limit, move on to the last, best strategy.
Redirect the target of their anger
The real winning strategy is to direct their arguments away from you and towards the clock. After you’ve renegotiated the device time deal, just let your kids argue with the clock. If you agree two hours per day, then remind them of this agreement when their time is up.
An even better play is to use a free screen time app or a screen limit app to cut them off automatically. iOS, Android, Windows, and Kindle all have apps to monitor screen time. Look around and find the best one for you. Set it up and let the app shut down your kids’ devices.
Using this strategy makes your children argue against themselves because they took part in renegotiating the deal. Even better, the clock becomes the bad guy instead of you!
Peace at Last
Follow my idea and put these strategies into action. If you don’t see an immediate drop in your conflicts over screen time for kids, then send us a message!