Each family will have different amounts of time they think is appropriate in terms of screen time for their children. It is important to think about what will work best for your household, create age-appropriate limits and model the same behavior so the rules you enforce will “stick”.
Below are some quick tips when deciphering what will work best for your children.
Let children choose how they want to use their screen time – give them a little control. Allow your children a designated amount of time (for example 1 hour after school) and they choose when they would like to use it. Perhaps they want an hour before bedtime or would like to break it up and use 30 minutes before dinner and 30 minutes after. This strategy could alleviate fighting if they have some control in the matter but they are still abiding by your rules.
Set an off/down time that remains consistent – this usually works best during the dinner hour not using phones, iPads, computers, etc. or having a charging area in the main area of the house. This way, before bed, all phones are taken and charged for the next day so screen time will not be occurring in their bedrooms when it’s time for sleep.
Earn more screen time – when homework is finished, chores completed or physical activity (remember those days of playing outside?) are done, perhaps a reward in the amount of screen time is a good motivation for your children. Log screen time vs. active time. Use screen time as a homework reward. Use a token system for screen time. Try different methods to see what will work best for your family.
Limit screen time in stages – it will be easier to manage. To reduce the amount of fighting involved and resistance when it comes to limiting screen time it may be best to do it in stages. Making small changes will be easier to enforce and will be less of a “shock” to your children.
Lastly, set a good example for your children. Are you always on your phone? When do you not have screen time? Setting realistic expectations for your children – and having yourself follow it as well – sets the tone for the entire household.
Dr. Jennifer Politis, PhD, LPC, of Politis Therapy Services, LLC, is a therapist and educational psychologist specializing in therapy and evaluation services for children and adults in Bergen County. She works with women dealing with issues related to motherhood, life balance, stress and relationships. Dr. Politis also works with children and adolescents that have learning differences, academic challenges, behavioral issues, depression and anxiety. Dr. Politis earned her doctoral degree from Fordham University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, School Psychologist and Certified School Counselor. www.drjenpolitis.com Phone: 201-820-5737 Email: [email protected]
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