Limiting Screen Time For Preteens
Do you have a preteen? Do they like to be on the computer, iPad, iPhone or tablet just a little too much? Have you thought of taking the modem? Hiding the laptop? Putting new passwords on all devices?
Too much screen time isn’t good for anyone, but with preteens I feel it can often be way too much. Now you don’t have to think of creative ways to hide the modem, or make sure to hide the laptop! There are many ways to help limit the screen time without reaching such drastic measures.
Let’s Try to Limit!
⦁ Set a Schedule: Sit with your preteen and come up with a schedule everyone can agree on. I find it most important that the child is involved in this because then they don’t feel as though it’s a punishment.
⦁ Give Some Extra Time as Rewards: Child being extra helpful? Give them an extra hour a week! Make it something they look forward to, and want to get rather than them looking at chores as work and something they really dislike and don’t want to do.
⦁ Friends and Family vs The Screen: Spending time with friends and family always comes before the screen. Keeping kids busy doing other things than thinking of the screen is key. Get the kids all playing together, have friends over to hang out and/or go out and play some ball or hang out!
⦁ Negotiate: Set up special hours for television, and computer/iPad/Tablet/Phone time – Let them know they can choose which hours they get to spend doing what per week. If they go over, they lose that exact time from the other privilege.
⦁ Set Rules: Preteens always try to push the limits. Make sure there are clear and concise rules that need to be followed. How much time should be spent on one electronic, how much time after school work should be focused on school work and not technology. Set rules with open communication works well.
⦁ Expectations: Let them know YOURS and ask them THEIRS: I expect my preteen to follow the rules and guidelines we’ve set up for screen time. He knows that I expect him to follow through or screen time will be dramatically decreased and eventually gone completely. Ask them what they think is expected from screen time and them as a whole within the family. See how it all fits together, and go from there.
⦁ “THERE’S NOTHING ELSE TO DO!!”: I’m sure we’ve all heard this one, but let’s face it preteens are dramatic and although they think there isn’t anything else for them to do, there always is. Chores, reading, writing, and school work. It would be a great idea to have curriculum books on hand. Crosswords are also another fun way to get their mind going on something other than a screen.
⦁ Mom and Dad Know Best: If you feel that screen time is becoming too much of an issue, it probably is. Limiting or taking away for a while is a good thing, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so. Trust your gut.
While it can be difficult to set rules like these with everyone having busy schedules and making sure everyone follows through, it is very important. Too much of a good thing can be harmful. It can cause laziness in kids and even moodiness when you tell them to get offline. They can become addicted very quickly. If it’s treated as more of a luxury than necessity it can be easier to control.
For more great articles from Jeanine, visit her site at SixTimeMommy.com!