how to limit screen time for kids

Screen Time for Kids
The Reality…

I’m going to get very real right now…

Technology is taking over our world. It’s literally everywhere. 

While sometimes technology can be useful and convenient, it can also be very damaging! Limiting our kid’s screen time should be a priority. Period… and I’m really being honest… Mom and Dad should be limiting their own screen time as well!

Technology addiction is real and I see it every. single. day. 

People driving, swerving in an out of lanes, staring at their iPhones.

A Dad sitting at the doctors office with his son, nose in a screen.

Moms walking around the zoo with their children, scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.

Toddlers riding in strollers OUTSIDE with a tablet or smartphone in hand (not even joking…)

Want to get your kid’s screen time down, but struggling with a technology addiction yourself?

Take the 30 day Screen Time Challenge to get yourself on the right track before tackling the battle of excess kid screen time!

Limiting Screen Time for Kids
4 easy steps…

If you’re ready to cut down or completely eliminate screen time in your home, these simple steps can help! If eliminating screen time for good is your goal, simply add on the BONUS step 4 mentioned below!

Step One
Set Restrictions…

Screen Time for Kids - How Much is Too MuchFirst of all, if your kids don’t NEED a phone, don’t get them one! Period! The absolute best way to fight (or prevent) excess screen usage is by skipping the initial purchase to begin with!

With that said, I do understand that phones may be a necessity for some children, safety wise that is. If you have an older child that is driving or away from the home often, checking in frequently can save a mother’s sanity! Phones can also be a useful tool for working parents that have latch key kids.

If your children must have a phone, consider being the unconventional parent that opts for a flip phone or light phone instead. Guess what guys? NON smart phones serve the purpose. Unfortunately though, the options for old school phones aren’t as endless as smart phones! You will have to put forth some hard core dedication and research time!

Phone & Tablet Restrictions

If you’ve exhausted all your options and your child has a smart phone anyway, setting restrictions can be a useful way to limit screen time!

My kids don’t have phones (yes, even the 15 year old is phone-less…), but they do have personal tablets that were purchased for educational purposes. These tablets do have games on them and they are used at least a few times a week. I do understand that technology can be a useful tool in the hands of a child, but I also know it can be a harmful one.

Use built in iOS parental controls and iOS screen time settings

Not sure how to set up restrictions on your child’s iPad? Simply click the screen time icon under settings. Set time limits over all, for specific apps, schedule down time, turn off app store privileges, and lock down internet usage.

This is why we set restrictions! Each iPad (aside from the one I use for work) has a 2 hour time limit for each day. We also have cut off times for each device. This has not only been a sanity saver, but a wonderful tool for our home!

Step Two
Set Expectations…

This is essential, you guys!! Before handing a child any type of device, set your ground rules!

Talk with your children about the restrictions you’ve set, mention expectations and set simple rules for earning screen time.

Our Screen Time Rules:

  • Chores are done
  • Homeschool lessons complete
  • Been helpful to someone
  • Participated in something hands on and NON electronic

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Step Three
Take Breaks Often…

If you’ve already set up restrictions, this is your next step! Taking breaks often is completely necessary for cutting down screen time and avoiding technology addiction.

3 Simple Ways to Break

  • Set a Timer

The easiest way to do this is to simply set a timer for every 10-15 minutes during peak screen time usage. If you encourage your children to turn their tablet off, get up, do simple stretches or venture outside for a few minutes it breaks that zoned out feeling. Our peak tablet time tends to be in the evening hours after dinner, as we spend most of our days learning and playing.

  • Spread it Out

This!! Spread out your child’s tablet usage throughout the day. You can do this by using a block schedule and only giving them tablet time during specific periods or you can wing it. In our home we have a time limit of 2 hours a day. If we chose to utilize all that time each day, I could easily spread it out into 4-30 minute periods. Easy peasy!

  • Take it Away

I had to go there… because honestly, I’ve had to do it! If you notice behavior changes in your child such as not sleeping well, snippy after playing a specific game or even showing signs of obsession. It might be time to take something away. This can easily be done by doing a screen detox. We do these for 7 days in a row periodically and it’s always a refreshing break! However, sometimes a more harsh approach might be in order. Don’t be afraid to delete apps (I’ve totally done it,  you guys!) or take away tablets for an undisclosed amount of time. Just make sure you put it away where it can’t be found. Out of sight, (hopefully) out of mind!

*BONUS – Step Four
for screen time elimination…

Looking to eliminate screen time for good? Simply follow the three steps mentioned above and then slowly begin to decrease your child’s usage each day by 5 minutes.

Limit Screen Time for Kids with RulesWhile we haven’t found this step completely necessary in our home yet, I do strive to be as close to elimination as possible. With that said, I work from home and a huge part of that is technology based, as is my husband’s job. Living completely off the grid and throwing the screens away sounds lovely, but it isn’t always realistic!

When we practice screen time elimination in our home, our goal is to simply discard as much excess screen time as possible! If you use screens for work or your child’s schooling is online based simply work on eliminating the extra. Spend time reading instead of playing online games. Take a social media detox and go outside with your kids instead!

 Life is not on a device. Life is all around us. Embrace it!

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Related Articles: The Technology Addiction30 Day Screen Time Challenge

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