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Kids and Cellphones: 6 Ways to Set Limits on Screen Time

People spend too much time on electronic devices. As much trouble as it causes adults it can be even worse for children. Limiting screen time for kids is beneficial for their development process. Below are six key tips for limiting the time they spend on their devices.

Define Screen Time

It’s also a good idea to stop and think about what you mean by screen time. There are many meaningful things your child can do with electronic devices, some of which really don’t need to be limited. Make sure you differentiate between educationally appropriate activities and leisure activities when setting your limits. This is supposed to be a rule that helps your child to stay healthy, not one that is meant to punish him or her for embracing newer technology.

Make Limits Consciously

One of the most important parts of setting screen time limits is to do it with a purpose. Don’t shut down your kids’ electronics because you’re angry. Instead, do so because it’s the right thing to do. If you don’t think through the reasons why you are limiting screen time, there’s a good chance you’ll ease off the limits when things get tough. Know why you’re limiting your child’s interaction with screens before you do so.

Decide Together

Make sure to involve your child in the decisions about screen time. Not only will this be an incredible time to explain to him or her your reasoning, but your child might be able to bring up certain points about which you have not thought. You might want to limit all screens, for example, forgetting that your child needs a certain amount of internet access for classes. Always have a conversation with your kids before making a major life-changing decision like this.

Do It with Trust

As limiting screen time is not something done as a punishment, it’s important to remember to trust your child. Make sure to give your child a chance to enforce the limits on his or her own. Don’t check up too much—just enforce the limits when he or she slips up. Give your child every chance to keep on top of things so that he or she can reinforce the lessons on his or her own. Always begin with a high level of trust.

Use Technology

There are numerous ways to help you control your child’s screen time if he or she isn’t willing to do so on his or her own. Your internet provider, for example, might have tools that can limit screen time, like New Albany MS phone service or someone near you. Most phones, tablets, and even gaming consoles also have parental control software that can help shut down the devices as pre-determined times. While it’s always better to have your child buy-in on his or her own, using one of these tools can certainly help to make sure your rules are being followed.

Avoid Screen Rewards

Finally, do your best to avoid the trap of using screen time as a reward. If you aren’t limiting screen time as a punishment, it simply doesn’t make sense for you to turn around and give that time back to your child because he or she has done something properly. Find other rewards and let your child know that screen time isn’t being withheld because of behavioral reasons. Stick to your guns with this to ensure that you don’t send mixed signals.

The best way to keep screen time limits in place is to be consistent. Know why you are using the limits, how it will be enforced, and what your child will do to help. If you are willing to put in a little extra work to make a good screen time policy, your child will benefit from your efforts.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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