Manage Your Child's Screen Time With These Creative and Fun Techniques

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.

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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.

Image courtesy of Family Days Tried & Tested.

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!

Image courtesy of Cool Mom Tech.

Learn more about the mar­ble tech­nique on the Cool Mom Tech blog. Check out these oth­er resources for cre­at­ing your own screen rewards system:

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!