How to set screen time rules you can all stick to
With winter break upon us and a long winter of a lot of home time ahead, it is important for many families to set screen time rules that everyone can live by. Together with your children, and anyone else involved, here are some tips on how to set screen time rules you can all stick to.
Work with you child to come up with boundaries
Telling your tween or teen what is and isn’t allowed is much harder than it was when they were younger. Their voices are louder and they want to be heard, so working together with your child will illicit a better response.
Explain the detriments of too much screen time
Knowledge is power. We all know that saying "because I said so" is never an answer the kids want to hear! A better approach would be to explain why the rules are being put in place. By explaining the detrimental effects of screen time, whether it be the physical effects of strained eyes, headaches and poor posture, or the academic downfalls of prioritizing screen time over homework time, sharing the reasoning behind why rules need to be put in place will help them better understand your position.
Give them some power in decision making
Set the goals out ahead of time of what rules you would like to see in place. Then, with that framework in mind, give your tween some options. If screen time is an absolute no-no in the morning, then ask your child if they would prefer to play after school for X amount of time or after dinner for X amount of time. Let them make some choices in the process.
Reward positive screen time
Giving your child an hour to play Call of Duty is not nearly the same as giving your child an hour to play Just Dance. Reward positive screen time choices with more time. This is a great way to encourage your child to spend their screen time in the right places.
Consistency is key
Once you have come up with rules, it is really important that you stick to them and remain consistent. By creating the rules together, everyone will know the expectations and will be able to live up to them. With that said, you need to play your part and enforce the rules that you have worked hard to create. Remain consistent.
Keep the lines of communication open
Just like everything else, there are always times when exceptions need to be made. By keeping the lines of communication open, you and your child will be able to talk about when and why exceptions need to be made. That’s not to say that the answer will always be yes, but by being open and honest with one another, you will have a clear picture of what is going on. Remind your child, that following the rules consistently will show you that you can trust them and the screen time choices they are making. Install Kidas on your child’s Xbox to keep the lines of communication open as well. By connecting Kidas to their Xbox, you will be able to keep the conversation going if there are cyberbullying issues. Communication in gaming and screen time is so much bigger than just the screen time schedule.