Sometimes setting screen time rules in the home is easier said than done. The addictive qualities of many kids apps and shows can make it hard for families to regulate how much time their children are spending on devices. For some families, however, setting those boundaries provides another opportunity to teach children valuable lessons in creative and fun ways. Here are some of the most clever and interesting techniques parents are using to manage their child's screen time.
Create a Device Deposit Box
The Family Days Crew constructed a device deposit box as a way of enforcing device-free time at home. During dinner time and bedtime, their children must place their devices in the deposit box. This gives them opportunities to experience quality family time without distractions and prevents the temptation to sneak devices during bedtime. Failure to abide by these rules means a 24-hour device ban where the child puts the phone or tablet in “jail,” a clever and cute cardboard box that looks like a locked cell door.
Learn more on the Family Days Tried & Tested blog.
Take Control With a Special Time Limit
MaryAnne of the Mama Smiles blog noticed that she had more difficulty getting her kids off screens once past the 30-minute mark. So she started setting timers for 20 minutes, and found that her less-engrossed kids no longer put up much of a fight. For those moments when children request more than 20 minutes, they're given a task to earn the extra screen time.
Use a Rewards System
Speaking of working for screen time, Kristen Chase talks about her pay-to-play screen time system on the Cool Mom Tech blog. To earn screen time, children must first complete chores around the house. Parents reward each chore with a marble, which represents a set limit of screen time. To cash in for some time with a favorite kids app or show, the child deposits the marble in a jar and a parent sets the timer. Easy!
Learn more about the marble technique on the Cool Mom Tech blog. Check out these other resources for creating your own screen rewards system:
- 35 screen-free activities you can integrate into your rewards system.
- Checklist of tasks children must complete before using a device.
- A neat idea for rewards tokens.
- A blank rules list so your child can make his or her own rules!
Teach Your Child Self-Control
We love this idea by developmental psychologist Ashley Soderlund of Nurture and Thrive. On the surface, the technique appears very simple. Every day your child gets two tokens. When they want to watch a show they have to spend a token. That's it. Don't be fooled, however. This method is set up in a way that teaches children a very powerful lesson.
That lesson is awareness and self-control. This technique gives children the power to monitor and control their own screen time. Your child gets to determine when, where, and what of the pre-selected shows to watch with the two tokens they have. As you only give out two tokens a day, regardless of how many chores or other activities your child completes, your child has to learn how to accept limitations and use them as best as they can.
While this method is similar to the rewards system in that it allows children to turn in tokens for some time interacting with their favorite educational, quality kids apps, there's one BIG difference. Screen time is NOT positioned as a reward. By using screen time as a reward for doing other healthy activities, like completing chores or playing outside, you're elevating the importance of screen time over those activities. That could create an unbalanced association with screens, teaching children to value them above the other things they love.
More Screen Time Resources
Want to learn more about the impacts of screen time on children and how to start setting screen time rules for your family? Check out all of the educational resources on the Jellies blog to get started. We also added a timer feature to the Jellies app to help parents enforce screen time rules at home. Learn more about Jellies and download the safe, educational kids app today!