Inside: Tips to help your kids avoid screen time battles this summer.
Summertime can get hairy.
Just today, for example.
There I am, innocently eating a salad, and I look out the kitchen window just in time to see my boys fully naked playing in a mud hole. This is life in the country when you have no neighbors and a lot of boys.
They showered in the outdoor shower and we went about our business.
But the struggle is real…
When you’ve got all the kids home for the summer and it’s blazing hot outside it is So Tempting to resort to more screen time than we’d like.
I decided that having some type of plan about how we’ll do screen time this summer would help prevent the inevitable backlash that comes with too much screen freedom.
- Irritable and impatient attitudes
- More difficulty napping and sleeping (due to over stimulation and less exercise)
- More acting out after cartoons (refer to my friend’s post on schemas)
- Less imagination and creative play
There are more, but you get the picture.
Creating A Summer Routine (With Screen Time Rules) That Avoids Power Battles
If you, like me, don’t have a total screen free home, it’s a great idea to set up some routines and ground rules at the beginning of summer before things get dicey.
Codes & Controls… STAT
If you haven’t already put controls and codes on your devices, please read about the dangers of the World Wide Web and then get on it, mama!
The best way for you to control screen time is to control access to devices.
- Have a rule: No screens turn on without your okay.
- Passcode or pattern: Create a passcode for the devices and don’t give it out unless your child is old enough to understand the rules and has the self-control to follow them. For those younger kids… just don’t give them the code. This will cut down significantly on battles.
- Control location: My Montessori friend sometimes hides her kids’ iPads in a kitchen drawer until she’s ready to bring them out. If you know there are certain times your kids cannot get on devices, keep them out of sight.
- Collect at tend of the day: Adults aren’t even able to control their own screen time very well, much less kids. If you want to help your child build their own self-control, then set them up for success. Collect any and all devices at a certain time each evening.
- Get filters: There are a lot of ways to go about this, but you can cut to the chase and get something like Circle With Disney which affects every live device within range of your router.
We don’t have iPads or any form of table in our home.
This started because we were cheap, then we just didn’t ever buy one. If you feel yours are causing more trouble than they’re worth, retire them for a week and see what happens.
Chores First, Play After
One of the best things you can do to avoid battles, pouting, and resistance is to order things correctly.
Instead of letting the kids have screen time then turning it off so everyone starts flailing and you’re yelling, “Let’s do chores with music, it’ll be fun!” it’s much easier to simply model work first, play later.
- It doesn’t matter so much what time of day this happens, just that you don’t put chores after something they never want to stop.
- Get some chore cards or a chore list and use them to help kids learn to work independently and learn cleaning and tidying skills.
- Choose a time of day or day of the week and attempt consistency. Once it works it’ll be easy to keep the routine up.
Choose Screen Time Of Day Wisely
I am a big fan of screen time around the 4:00 o’clock hour while I’m trying to cook.
The time you choose is up to you!
Instead of letting the kids choose the time of day, be pro-active. If you find it difficult to cook with kids under your feet, use screen time while you’re cooking. If you like having an hour to read and prepare for the day in the morning, allow screen time in the morning.
- Avoid screen time right before naps or bedtimes as it prevents proper wind down.
- By choosing a time that works for you, screen time serves two purposes (entertaining them and freeing you up).
- As mentioned earlier, have screen time after they’ve done some type of chores or tidying, etc. Work happens much faster that way, try it out and see!
Teach Routine Independence
Any post of mine would be remiss without mentioning one of my favorite things… routines.
Having simple morning and evening routines give children touchstones throughout the day. More gets done, the home stays in better order, and you don’t have to give instructions constantly because the kids already know what needs to be done.
Include screen time in your routine.
- For small children you can be the Holder of the Routine.
- Kids young as toddlers can learn to use the routine cards and preschoolers and early elementary kids (pre-readers) can learn to follow their own routine independently. (Here’s my post on how my kindergarteners got themselves fully ready from waking up to walking out the door)
- Use pictures, words, or even simple morning or evening routines for yourself.
- Position screen time after other tasks that help build responsibility and character.
Use these printable routine cards to help promote independence!
You’ve Got This, Mama…
Want to get started today making a Screen Time plan so you avoid power battles, build responsibility, and still have time for yourself? Get my free checklist here.
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