Do you limit screen time at home? 21

Screen time and the boys is something I battle with.  It isn’t such an issue in the summer and good weather when their first choice would be to be outside playing with their friends.  But as the nights draw in, then they do reach for the screen more often than not.  They are not TV fanatics and we do not have it on in the background, but they do love their Ipods and Xbox. It is all about finding a balance that suits us as a family.

At the moment, we have strict limits on screen time at home which are no screens at all (except for TV as a family) after 6pm, no screens at the dinner table and one hour limit a day otherwise agreed.  We also have a #signoffsaturday or a #saignoffsunday where we have a day at the weekend which is technology free.

limiting screen time

Why I chose to limit screen time

Research has proven that the blueish light emitted from tablets and phones suppresses our natural melatonin levels and effects sleep especially in children and teens. This is why we have a no screens in bedrooms rule, which even us adults abide by. This is the reason why we have no screens after 6pm in the hope that we can encourage the boys to have quality sleep and also why we do not have TV’s in their rooms.

I want my boys to participate in family life, to help prepare dinner, to do their chores and to play.  I want to teach them not to choose to reach for a screen when they are unsure of what to do.  I do not want them addicted to screens.

Limiting screen time make me parent

I am going to be straight with you and I do believe that there is a place in our family for screens.  I have no issue with my boys using them in the car or even in moderation, but moderation is the key word and there are times when it is convenient to let them play for longer that I would prefer in order that I can get some job or another done, but that is me being a lazy parent.

So I have to invest more time in being present as a parent and I find that if the boys know that there is no chance of screen time that they play more creatively.

Tips onHow tolimitscreentime

How to limit screen time

I am not saying that it is easy to limit screen time and the transition can be hard, but I am flexible and believe that I am doing the right thing for my family.

1) Set a good example

We are big believers in do as I do rather than do as I say here in The Mad House and we do this by setting a good example.  We do not have our phones at the table, we do not take them in to our bedrooms either.  We leave our phones by the door when we come in from work and have a charging station for all technology.

2) Encourage other activities

I make it easy for the boys not to reach for their screens we have a seasonal bored jar and I also try to make sure that I have resources accessible for them such as board games and a well stocked craft cupboard.

3) Give your kids time

Kids want you to be present in their lives.  I make sure that I give them some attention and get involved and play with them.  We regularly have family games night and family movie night.  The days are long, but the years are short and they will be given up before I know it. I observe, listen, ask and parent. We have family screen free activities.

4) Be the parent

It is my job to do what I feel best for my children and if that means I am unpopular for a little while then so be it.  I have hard decisions to make and I stand by them.  I explain my decision to the boys and stand by it. Screen time is not a right it is a reward.

Interestingly it seems that Steve Jobs was a low tech parent.

There is no right or wrong in this and as the first generation of parents really dealing with this, we are all just doing what we feel best for our families.  My dear friend Cass at Diary of a Frugal Family has a different take on this, so why not pop over and see how she handles screen time with her two children. It just goes to show you that there isnt a one size fits all solution.

A Mom with a Lesson Plan also has a great post on limiting screen time and if you want to set time limits on your Ipad or Ipod then take a look at this fantastic post from iGame Mom.

21 thoughts on “Do you limit screen time at home?

  • Sam Thurley

    This is always a real problem in our house and I have tried to limit the time on more than one occasion. You have given me the kick up the bum I need to do it again xx

  • Style Me Sunday

    My girls are still quite young so it’s less of a problem in our household although I do try and limit the tv. They have no other devices. But it’s tricky I can see it being a major issue in the future. Thank you so much for your helpful tips.

  • Cass@frugalfamily

    I love this – especially leading by example. How can we expect children to do other things when we’re sat at our laptops or fiddling with our phones all the time.

    Completely agree that there isn’t a one size fits all solution x x

  • Louisa

    We also have a restriction on screen time although they can choose to have their time after dinner if they like. Also no tvs in their rooms which went down like a lead balloon-but tough! We have programmed their wifi to turn off after a certain time so the teen can’t sneak his iphone into his room and spend all night on facebook.

  • Liska @NewMumOnline

    Oh the irony that I am reading this post and Cass’s on the laptop in my bedroom. I was nice and sleepy, and I thought let me read a few posts, but that light has as you say woken me up.
    I will read your tips again tomorrow to see which ones I may need to implement with Aaron as he’s just got into computer games in recent weeks.

  • Emma

    Sorry about the previous comment I pressed too soon.

    My children are a bit younger than yours, but I restrict screen time as much as possible, we don’t have any rules as such, but I don’t encourage screens at all, and we’ve sort of go to the point where no one asks anymore.

    Over Summer we had the iPad out once, and didn’t watch more than a few hours of TV over the whole 6 weeks.

    I’m sure that will change as they get older, but I’ll definitely be setting restrictions in place, and yours seem very sensible.

  • Bek

    I think moderation is key. Restricting screen time in our house seems like hard work, at times, especially when both children are tired. I really like your idea of no screens after 6pm. I think that we should give that a go.

  • Kara

    We limit screen time here as if they have anymore than an hour its like a black mist comes down and their mood changes

  • Fritha

    I think my biggest fault is that I’m not setting a good example myself being on my phone all the time. It’s certainly something I need to work on! x

  • Laura

    Great post. We have one or two rules – no screens at the dinner table for example – but I don’t think strict rules would work for us as a family. Not right now anyway, that might change as my children get older.

    My two are only small and hardly spend any time playing on game consoles or with apps. Almost all of the apps or games they have are educational though so I don’t mind them using them. Don’t get me wrong, I’d hate for them to be having too much screen time and I’m always encouraging them to do other things like getting outdoors or arts and crafts.

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