At one point in our life, I was allowing my oldest to play computer games almost every day. All of the children were watching an internet show (Netflix, RightNow Media, SmartKidz Media) or movie up to 60 minutes a day, 5 times per week.
I’ll admit, I was allowing so much computer time because I was feeling very exhausted and sick at the time (just before my Sarcoidosis diagnosis). But, my kids were paying for my laziness… so, I changed things a bit and it has been nothing but positive.
Less Screen Time
My kids are now allowed just 15-30 minutes of screen time each once a week and 30-60 minutes total once a week to watch either an approved episode/movie on the internet or a movie from our bookshelf (which are all educational, since I went through them and removed several movies that were a bad influence to my kids).
I may seem extreme to some (and I’m seriously considering cutting out all non-educational movies/shows/games), but I really feel that my kids act out, get lazy, and start hating any sort of “book school” or responsibilities when they are allowed to spend much time on the computer.
With less screen time, I have observed my kids enjoying books more, playing together more nicely, and just generally “thinking” out loud and asking questions more often. I can only attribute it to the less computer time.
I do allow educational look-ups, games, and an occasional show/movie that corresponds with our schooling in addition to the above schedule. But, I am more intentional with my kids’ screen time.
Parenting Resources We Love
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest YesRaising World Changers in a Changing World: How One Family Discovered the Beauty of Sacrifice and the Joy of GivingRaising Godly Children in an Ungodly WorldAnswers for Kids Box Set (Answers Book for Kids)Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-TimeSix Days: The Age of the Earth and the Decline of the Church
Grace For The Season
I know that our schedule changes and so does our kids’ screen time, based on our life circumstances and season. When we have a lot of extra medical stuff to deal with or are taking a break from homeschool, then we tend to allow more screen time.
Generally, we only allow animated, non-educational movies on the weekend when we can watch as a family. The kids watch history/science documentaries most often during the week.
This is just what my husband and I have decided for various reasons. Decide what makes sense for YOUR family!
To be honest, I often forget what our rules are, so I need to write it out and tack it up for my kids and myself to see. It cuts down on the kids asking, begging, and whining for screen time because they can see exactly what the rules are.
Parents, It’s Up To You!
I was at the doctor’s office with my oldest daughter and they had a poster stating how to help children be healthy: eat at least x amount of servings of fruits and veggies, limit soda/juice to 1 small cup per day, drink water when thirsty, be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day, and limit t.v./gaming to 60 minutes or less per day.
Wow, it is SAD that a doctor has to put limits on t.v. or computer time for children (or tell us to feed our kids real, whole food for that matter!)!! PARENTS should be looking out for their own children and caring enough about them to recognize when they are getting too much screen time and not enough productive, meaningful time.
Trust yourself, mom/dad, YOU know what is best for your child!
Food For Thought
If your wondering why your kids are disrespectful, lazy, having learning difficulties, or otherwise difficult… maybe you should consider a break from their entertainment/media outlets? Remember, they will most likely whine, beg, and complain for the first week or so for their electronics, so give it a good 2 weeks or more before deciding whether it’s worth it.
Shouldn’t we, as parents, be willing to sacrifice our own free time (when the children are usually preoccupied with their games or movies) so that our children can actually interact with real live people and experience real life?? I’m preaching to myself here!
(NOT saying that all learning difficulties are because of too much screen time, but it’s definitely worth looking into)
Just some food for thought today…