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Ways Parents Can Enforce Limited Screen Time for their kids

parents screen time for kids
When it comes to children, even the very young ones, it seems that parents are supposed to accept that constant screen time is a given. Each kid has their own laptop, smartphone, MP3 player, tablet, profiles on every gaming console in your house that connects to the internet, and access to touch screens and computers at school.
Whereas the Moms of today and their parents had little to no access to computers throughout their childhoods, our children are learning to use touch screen tablets in elementary school. Textbooks are becoming obsolete and homework often includes necessary computer time. There is convenience in being able to low-jack your kids’ cell phones and watch your teens interactions with friends on social media but when they start to text you from their rooms upstairs wondering when dinner will be ready, you may begin to fear that you’ll never hear them speak in person again. So, how do you limit the screen time in your house and encourage your children to talk to real people, including the ones that actually live in the house with them?


1. The Cell Phone Zone at Home
Your kids use their phones to talk to friends, text, and even video chat in some cases. Depriving them of these interactions makes them think that they’re out of touch the next day at school and that you’re the evil cell phone restriction monster that is making them totally uncool! Resolve this and restrict cell phone access at home by making a “cell phone zone.” It can be one room or even a taped off or roped off section in a room that is the only place they are allowed to use their cell phones. Have children “check in” their cell phones when they walk in the door and, if they want to use them, they have to go into the cell phone zone.

2. Be the Internet Bouncer
When your kids go to bed, they say that they’re going to sleep but, once that door closes, they’re in their rooms with their personal laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones that they don’t need to turn on lights to use. In order to enforce “no more internet” at a certain time, change the password on your WiFi network so that they can’t connect, effectively bouncing them off the internet. They can have the new password the next day and you can even use it as incentive to do things like finish up chores after school or spend some time with family.

3. Black Out Family Night!
Designate one night a week that is for family time with no cell phones, tablets, or computers. Everyone gets together to cook a meal, eat together, and play a game or do something else that does not require using electronic devices. It’s a night with no movies, video games, or other forms of entertainment that discourage talking to each other face to face. Have a cookout complete with s’mores and stories or use your imagination for a themed meal and a games that follow.

Extreme Measures
Of course, there are some smart children who find ways around these measures and Mom might have to resort to extreme measures. You can purchase a signal jammer that stops all cell phones from working inside the house or turn off the internet completely at a certain time. The problem with these measures is that you might want to use the internet or your own cell phone after the kids go to bed. These extreme measures should be a last ditch effort to show the kids who’s really the boss of screen time when they just won’t listen. After all, Moms enjoy fighting monsters online and keeping in touch on social media too!

Originally published on momsmagazine.com

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