“Can I play on the iPad/computer?” How often on the weekends (or even during the week) do you hear that statement? And how often do you think you’ll hear it when they’re not in school (spring break, summer, etc.)?
When the kids are home all day, it’s REALLY easy to justify 2-3 hours every day spent on screens (and I’m not gonna lie: mine have spent many more that that on some days). Even if they play outside for a couple of hours, that still leaves 11 or 12 daylight hours for them to be entertained. Screens are just so easy!
To hold myself accountable and not allow copious hours of screen time, we have a few rules in our house: there are things that need to be done before any screen time is earned. That list of things may vary depending on the day, but it exists. We post it on the refrigerator (and sometimes there are other copies in other places frequented by my people). The point is that it is easily seen, so all I have to do is point my people to the list and ask if they’ve completed it.
I’ve heard of some people who change their wi-fi password every day, and the kids have to “earn” the password in some way. Thankfully I don’t have to do that…yet. At this point mine are still young enough that they actually ask me before they jump on; however, I’m sure I only have a year or two left of that. And then I’ll have to step up my game and change the wi-fi each day.
Whatever your method of allowing screen time, just make sure you add some educational apps and games to your kids repertoire, especially if they’re spending hours on them each day.