As the weather gets soggier and the days get shorter, it can become easier to give in and allow your kids to enjoy extra downtime with their devices. But while a little screen time is alright, it can become a tougher task when the time comes to take those devices away. To help you survive the screen time struggle, we’re sharing some creative ways to encourage your kids to unplug – without the added fuss.
Issue Screen Time Tickets
Screen time tickets can be a fun and visual way to encourage kids to take control of their own actions. You can hand out an allocation of tickets at the beginning of each week, and when your child wants to get a little digital fix, they can cash in a ticket for access to their devices. Your child will quickly learn that the more tickets they use at the beginning of the week, the less they’ll have when the weekend arrives.
Book A Binge Day
Some parents limit their children’s screen time to one day of the week, an allocated day when they can play as much or as little as they please, but only on the designated Binge Day. All other days of the week are reserved for family fun – offline.
Enforce a “Clean Before Screen” Rule
Before your kids can hunker down for a little cuddle time on the couch and watch their favourite TV show, make sure that they have cleaned up their play space. Cleaning chores around the house can also become ways to earn screen time. Parents can create an easy-to-follow chore chart, and once each task is complete, a sticker can be placed, accounting for an allocated amount of screen time as a reward.
Organize Your Apps
One blogger sat down with her daughter and organized the kid-friendly apps on their iPad together into two folders: “Brain Food” and “Junk Food”. The educational games (in the Brain Food category) were put at the top of the screen, and were given priority when it came to screen time. The mindless games (Junk Food) had stricter time limitations. This is a great way to work together to discuss which games are better for little brains.
Make It A Family Affair
Screen time doesn’t have to be a solo endeavour. Encourage your kids to use their screen time to connect with their siblings, or join in and play a game or watch a movie as a family. And when it comes time to unplug, the parents should do so too. Set an example and encourage your kids to follow your lead. Plan outdoor activities that you can enjoy as a family, or keep a selection of board games on hand for those rainy days when you’d rather play indoors. Work together as a family to monitor the time spent on devices, and that screen time struggle will become less of a problem.