Our Family’s “Screen Time” Rules

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This tip would be another Mom Tip… Screen Time is one of those things that’s become so common and available to our kids these days. It’s not as easy to just send your kids outside to play like it was back when we were kids. Phones, tablets, ipads, and other screens have become to go-tos for when our kids are bored and seeking something to occupy their time.

Screens are definitely not a bad thing. I watched plenty of T.V. as a child, and I turned out okay I think. But my kids would literally watch it all day long if I let them. We’ve had our fair share of “lazy days” where they’ve watched a good bit of T.V., but usually we deal with attitudes and misbehavior on days like that, so we really try to limit our kids’ screen time to some degree.

We try to save screen time for times when we need the kids to be on their best behavior. It works really well for us to take our tablets with us when we go to CrossFit. Since I don’t have a babysitter for my kids daily, and my husband is the coach – they have to go with me. This gives them something to do while I get my workout in. Some days are more laid back and they are able to do some working out with me, and some days they have other kids to play with outside and aren’t even interested in their tablets. I call this a win, but it’s still available as our backup plan.

So usually my kids get their tablets during the hour at CrossFit, and I will allow them to continue to watch them while I get a quick shower and fix dinner when we get home, but as soon as dinner is ready – we turn them off and eat together. So sometimes, they do get 2-3 hours of Screen Time per day, but you have to understand – this is after a FULL Day of imaginative play, homeschooling, running around outside, being creative, and of course their “morning checklists”, which I’ll get to in a minute.  They’ve had a full day at this point, so I definitely don’t mind that they relax a little bit in the afternoons. I know how much I just need to sit and relax sometimes during my day too, so I definitely think its okay, within reason.

Here is our Morning Checklist. It’s nothing fancy – just a page I typed out and put in a page protector pocket from the Dollar Tree and hung on the side of the fridge. We don’t use markers to check off the lists or anything. We just use it as a guide to help the kids remember what they need to be doing next, while I am doing my own morning routine of starting laundry or unloading the dishwasher. It’s especially helpful now that Lawson can read, and he can help his brother know what to do next too. I do have to help and assist with several of these things, but it’s okay. It’s just a guide and a checklist for kids’ is only good if there is also someone to supervise and make sure the things on it actually get done. That supervisor would be me, and like anything else – there are consequences if they choose to disobey and not do the things on their list. Let’s be real – sometimes that happens too. Screen time is one of those privileges that can be lost if their morning checklists are not completed. There are also other natural consequences like “not being able to play outside” until you are dressed for the day.

Some of our Screen Time Rules:
1. Morning Checklists must be completed.
2. Daily Schoolwork must be completed.
3. Ideally, we’ve had Outside Play Time, Creative, & Imaginative Play in our Day already as well.
4. Screen time CAN BE lost due to misbehavior and disobedience. It’s a privilege, not a right. It must be earned, and it can also be taken away.
5. We have locks and pass codes on everything. We have to unlock the passwords for them to turn on the tablets, to access shows rated Y-7 and up, and of course they aren’t allowed to do any web searching or purchasing either.
6. We really try to monitor the shows and games our kids have access to, and it’s not an easy job, even at the young ages of six and four. They already ask to watch shows their friends watch and things like that.

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful!

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