Hi Friends! I’m so excited to be introducing a collaborative motherhood series called Mom Talk with some of my all time favorite bloggers. These gals write about everything from fashion, recipes, wellness, beauty, etc… We think this will be a really fun series because we all have different age children and various viewpoints on motherhood.
Our first topic for Mom Talk is screen time. It’s been a hot topic in our house and in all my friends homes as well. Once you’re through reading what we have been working intentionally towards lately, make sure you check out my friends:
A couple weeks ago I posted an impromptu post on my feed about how YouTube was turning B & G into evil aliens and the response was incredible! I love that I can come to you all with real life topics and crowd source ideas, suggestions and thoughts from this amazing community. So many of you expressed interest on this subject so I thought I would round-up some of the advice, tips and tricks that others shared in the comments of that post.
Before I dive in I just want to say that these are just suggestions offered by others going through the same situation. Read through and see if any speak to you/seem like they might work for your family if you are looking to make a change in this area but by all means do not feel like everyone has it perfect already. If you read through the comments you will see that most of the group is struggling with the same types of behavior/situations so take heart in knowing you are not alone and there’s not a once size fits all answer so just do what’s best for your family. Educate yourself on parental controls.
- Educate yourself/spouse/babysitters/etc. on how to set and use parental controls. If you have an apple device (iPad/iPhone) you can reference their instructions on how to set parental controls and there are a few sites (like this one) that share steps on how to set restrictions for YouTube as well.
- Set a plan for reducing screen time and stick to it! If you have decided it’s time to put the screens down then figure out how you want to approach this and stick to it. Kid’s do well when you stand by the rules you set so make sure it’s a realistic plan for your family so you aren’t caving and letting them get it whenever they ask or you are stressed out. Some ideas included starting small. For instance, Mon-Fri no screen time and then they can earn it throughout the week by doing chores or being kind and then Sat/Sun they can have an hour a day or two hours 1 day. Or if you are really ready, go cold turkey many have said that once it wasn’t an option anymore they eventually became more creative and entertained by other things and weren’t asking for it anymore.
- Save it for times that make sense. A lot of people said they save it for times where it makes the most sense to use it which might not be on the weekends for you. For instance long car rides, on the airplane or if the power goes out (just make sure it’s charged first!).
- Be a role model. I loved this one and it’s SO hard especially since my job relies on me being on my phone sometimes. If kids see that you aren’t always in front of a screen it sets the tone and example for them. So try to limit your time (again if it makes sense for you). One person said once they pick up the kids from school they won’t look at their phone again until after they go to bed. I do think this encourages you to be more present and therefore offer up opportunities to do more things together as a family. Like cooking together, cleaning up together and making it more quality time doing something as a unit vs. feeling like chores. If you haven’t watched Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show I highly suggest watching the episode “Tidying With Toddlers” it goes WAY beyond just having a clean home and touches upon the benefits of tidying together as a family.
- Set a timer. If you are letting them use screen time it might be helpful to use Alexa or your phone to set a timer so you and they know exactly when it’s time to shut off. It can be so easy to just let another episode start and there goes another 30mins without realizing it’s been longer than you had intended. If you are letting them have this time also consider stopping at least an hour before bedtime so it doesn’t negatively impact their sleep that night.
- Choose what goes on the screen. When they are on the screen try to use the controls I talked about above to ensure they are spending time on things that will avoid promoting bad behavior, and focuses more on positivity or education. Many people like PBS, Cosmic Kids Yoga (on YouTube) or educational apps/sites like ABC Mouse, Play Osmo or Starfall.
- Do something else. For parents that are home all day with kids it can be really hard to not use a screen as a tool to get things done (trust me I get it!). To avoid having it be the only tool, you could think of other activities like setting up a playdate, visiting the public library or taking advantage of the childcare options some gyms offer. If you have multiple kids you can encourage them and invite them to play together (hopefully nicely) and rotate toys like Lego’s, coloring, etc. that will keep them occupied for a longer periods of time while you can do your must do’s that day.
- Make it fun! The night we played the game I posted about was SO much fun for all of us! So many people said they love a good family game night and listed out a number of games that are family friendly which I will list out below for reference.
- Roll & Play (for kids as young as 18 months)
- Feed The Woozle
- Count Your Chickens
- Connect 4
- Guess Who
- Sneaky Squirrel
- Disney Hedbanz
- Scrabble Junior
Do you have any other tips, tricks or suggestions for how to reduce screen time? If so I would love to hear so please comment below!