With lock down being the way that it’s been, I bet a lot of you as parents can agree that there has really been a wrestle between when is it time to cut the kids off from their screens and when is it time to just let them loose and freely play online as much as they want – right?
As I’m assuming you’ll agree that it’s been rough because there hasn’t really been much else for them to do and also any other way for them to engage with the outside world. Tim and I really had to jump around the boundary lines a lot with our kids because they were doing all of the things they were needing to have done, but at the same time – the toxic results of too much screen time were rearing their ugly heads and we just had to help them find the balance.
Some of those toxic results were that the older ones were becoming really short fused with each other and with us. Jude was becoming more and more emotional about a lot of things that would normally be really easy to deal with. There was a lot more cheating in school work in order to gain time with the devices and also a lot more setting aside of chores and healthy things like food.
So we constantly recalculated with them what they would like to do in order to maintain healthy balances throughout their day to make for better outcomes.
I remember, there was one stage when we had alone time for them – where they had to choose a side of the house where they would have to be completely alone, with no devices and just read, play on their own or create something. This really helped their relationships once they came back together.
We also asked them if they would prefer to binge screen time and only have it from Friday afternoon all the way through to Saturday evening (with a little time on Sunday) or have 1 hour a day throughout the week – which included Saturday and Sunday as well. They bounced a few times between these options and it was interesting how the option of binging on the weekend actually gave us, as their parents a much needed break and quiet house…….. which I kind of liked. But then when that wasn’t working because they wouldn’t want to do any outings because of the wanting to have their acquired amount of screen time that they felt “they deserved” (I mean, really – such a hard life, right?)
When it came to the option of 1 hour a day, this helped us with disciplining them because we were able to use the screen time as currency for various character choices and responsibilities. Which was all well and good until flaws in that system showed up. We had to put limits on what they got to watch and search for as well. Ugh!
So basically, I’m not even giving you any solutions but merely sharing with you what has happened with our screen journey up until now. Because we are smack bang, back into another lockdown, we have had to balance the choice again and it’s working – especially after a good heart to heart chat we’ve had with them and also trying to help them all understand that it’s a privilege not a right. So they can’t hold it over our heads as their parents that we owe them these things when we opt to go out as a family and their screen time has been eliminated for the day.
How have you been getting the balance right with y your kids? I’d love to know