Establish a RoutineOften kids balk at something new or unexpected. So, if you tell a child at dinnertime tonight to set down their device, but they used it at dinner last night, it can seem unfair. However, if the house rule is that no screens are allowed at dinner and that’s an established routine, kids will usually just set their devices aside without you having to tell them. The key is to establish a routine and stick with it. Sure, your kids will complain when you introduce the new routine, but kids adapt quickly. For an idea, here are a few routines that might help you manage screen time:
- Put away all devices by 7:00 pm (or whatever time works for your family)
- Screens are only allowed on weekends
- No screens allowed on certain days
- All devices get put on the charger and left in Mom and Dad’s room overnight
Get App AssistanceThere’s an app for everything, including managing your kids’ device time. Parental control apps, like Kaspersky Safe Kids lets you set time limits as well as monitor kids’ web usage.
Plan Fun, No-Device ActivitiesOne of the best things you can do is to plan fun activities that kids enjoy. Amazing activities make your kids so happy, they’ll even toss aside their screen to participate. Does that sound impossible? It’s not! Try some of these and see for yourself.
- Arrange playdates for younger kiddos or activities with friends for older kids. Often, kids look at their devices because they’re bored. If one of their friends was there, they’d rather play with them. For older kids, consider hands-on (device-free) activities like visiting a trampoline park, rock climbing studio, or a Ninja Warrior-style gym.
- Get a pool! What kid wants to be looking at a screen when they could be outside swimming? Even the allure of digital devices don’t stand a chance when you install the backyard pool your kids (and you!) have been dreaming of.
- Schedule device-free family activities. Go to the movies, take the whole family bowling or to play mini-golf. Designate one day each week to be family night, and play board games, take a family soak in the hot tub, or go for a bike ride together.