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How to Manage Kids and Screen Time

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Do you struggle with managing your kids and their screen time? Screens come in all shapes, sizes, and platforms these days, and keeping up with them and all their various screens can be exhausting. Apparently I am not the only one who things this since a reader sent in this question (I love questions…send them in through the contact me form anytime!)

How do you handle screen time/electronics?


This is an excellent question and one that I think weighs in on the hearts of many families.

How much really is too much screen time? 

Well, here is some information you may be interested in knowing.

According to WebMD, children’s overall screen time has more than doubled since 1999 to more than seven hours a day. SEVEN hours a day!

In this same article it goes on to say that excessive amounts of screen time leads to: “struggles with school, attention problems, sleeping disorders, and obesity are all linked with excessive media time. According to Jennifer L. Harris, PhD, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, too much TV time doesn’t just displace time that kids could spend being physically active. It also encourages children to eat more of the unhealthy, high-calorie foods that they see advertised.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to do whatever I can to avoid my children having these struggles.

So, if we are wanting to train our children to have a healthy relationship with electronics and screen time, how do we manage kids and screen time?

kids and screen time


Pay your kids to keep them off

Credit for this goes to my mom. When I was a kid there was pretty much only TV to choose from, but she paid her kids $100 a summer to keep it off. I have always been motivated by money so this worked like a charm for me every summer. I can see how this would vary by kid. My oldest would go for this, but my other older kids may not. But, this is a great option.

Require that your child earns screen time through being active

You could set up a system that for every half hour they spend outside doing something active whether it’s playing backyard games, roller blading, riding bikes, or even cutting the grass or washing the car, they can have the same amount of time on screen time.

They can earn screen time by doing work

In much the same way as they can earn time by being active, they can earn screen time by doing work above and beyond what their regular responsibilities are. You can implement this however you see fit whether it is in a time exchange format (a half hour of screen time for every half hour of work) or on a job by job basis.

Use a strict schedule of when your kids may have screen time, again however you see fit

Ideally, this would be balanced with needing to behave in a certain way, The time is theirs to have or not, depending on how they behave in relation to the expectations in the family.

Giving kids screen time is often a delicate balance in most families. We all like some down time, and often having screen time is a great way of unwinding. Establishing and enforcing healthy habits in our children in relation to screen time just takes a little bit of creativity sometimes. Try these tips on for size and see what you think.

How does screen time look in your family?

*You can read the full article on WebMd here.

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  1. We don’t have that much screen time, but every morning that have to read for twenty minutes, and complete chores before getting screens. It’s helped a lot.

  2. My son is 19 months old and he refuses to eat if I don’t turn on a movie (he watches on my phone). At first it was only sometimes, but now he won’t take a single bite of his food if I don’t turn on the movies. I’m not sure I like that… :/ He also insisted watching some while I put him to bed, but thankfully I found a way around that one.

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