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How to Reduce Screen Time for Kids

I don’t know about you, but my kids get so grumpy and start arguing after being on a screen. Here are some tips to reduce screen time for children.

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I don’t know about you, but my kids get so grumpy and start arguing after being on a screen.  They get so focused into what they are doing they don’t even know what’s going on around them.  My middle son is the worst.  He starts arguing with me and takes about 20 minutes to adjust to the “real world”.   I try really hard to reduce my kids screen time.

My kids go to great schools and they all have computers or iPads provided by the school.  My older son can even bring his home.  They are on screens at school, so I try to put time limits on at home.

Reducing Screen Time

How to reduce screen time for kids.

A quick Google search says that kids 8-18 spend an average of 7 hours a day on a screen. That’s a huge amount of time, a third of the day! The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t give recomendations on screen use in kids, but I think we can all agree that too much is not good.

Here are a few screen rules that have helped my family.

1.  No playing games on MY phone.  

Yes, I do have some games on my phone in case of an emergency, like long waits at a doctors office and things like that.  I tell them my phone is mine.  I use to check my email, get directions, and text.  I don’t like the battery low in case of an emergency.

2.  No playing video games in the morning before school.

This can screw up the entire day! Even if they get off in time, they are still in “game zone” and they can’t get moving.  They also argue about someone knocking down their tower in Minecraft. Limit screen time with all videos. When kids get older they may be able to handle more video game time.

3.  No ebooks.  

I try not to buy them books on their Kindle for required reading.  We have tons of books and really don’t need them on their pad.  I have downloaded some books when we were out of town and needed something to read, but I try to plan ahead and have books from the library.

4.  No pads Monday through Friday morning.

 This was the hardest rule for my kids to adjust to.  I took each Kindle and put it away.  I don’t leave them out to tempt them.  I make sure to get them and I hide them, so they can’t find them.  We don’t have time to sit around and play games after school.  They do snack, homework, practices, and outside play time.

5.  Limit TV time. No watching TV while eating.  

If we are sitting at the kitchen table the TV is off. Period.

6.  No movies in the car unless we are driving over an hour.

Before I implemented this rule my kids were always begging to watch a show when we were just driving to baseball practice or the grocery store.  I decided they could sit there and we could spend some quality time together, have a conversation and listen to music.  They should be able to occupy themselves for an hour.

7.  No screens when friends are over.  

My daughter always wanted to watch a show when she had friends over.  She can watch a show anytime.  She has a friend over to play and they should be spending time together.  This is getting a little harder for my son that is 10, but we still have this rule.  I make them play outside and do physical activities.

Good luck and I’d love to know some of your tricks to reduce screen time.