I have a love/hate relationship with media.
I know that's the way the world is going and when you go on a field trip to Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and they tell you that kids need to start coding NOW if they ever want a job at the JPL caliber, you start to question if you should let your kids just have more screen time to "code", play Minecraft, Roblox, etc to understand the tech world.
But I couldn't deny the results that limiting screen time produced for my family. My kids got a long SO much better. They were more patient with each other...not being able just to "swipe" their sister away to go onto the next screen. They were CREATIVE. And the things they produced... modding nerf guns, painting, drawing. Yes! My son drew and I had NO IDEA that he was the artist that he was until he didn't have the media time to FILL his time. So, he took a piece of paper and a pencil and began to draw. Then this....
WOW, right??!!! He was 5 yrs old here and looked at a picture of Elsa while drawing it.
And while I know that the "right" kind of media is good and that there's SO many amazing coding programs out there, I was finding a hard time trying to balance it all. So in my best efforts to do so, 2 summers ago I tried this list with my kids. They groaned at first but soon it became routine.
It worked out so well that I wanted to share it with you here.
My kids do not play media (video games/watch TV) during the school week. It started years ago because we were so busy with sports and homework that they just didn't have time. We saw great results so we just continued with that rule. We are going on 7 years of that now and we have not looked back since! They do get media time on the weekends (Fri-Sun), but it's only 1 hr of video games. They can earn up to 30 more mins. If we watch a family show together, that doesn't count as part of their time. I won't bore you with all the specific guidelines, so for those that want to know more, just comment below.
In the summer, my kids get media time (video games) everyday. They get 1 hr a day plus they can earn an extra 30 mins.
BUT here is the kicker... they have a list to complete before they can get on their devices.
The list is easy and it's broken down into 3 sections:
- Morning Routine
- Exercise Your Brain
- Show Honor (basically do something for someone else that does not benefit you at all)
** I crossed off playing outside because my kids already do that without me asking.
The kids check it off as they complete each item. Once the list is completed, they may get on their devices. I went to the Dollar Store and got little timers for each of them. They are in charge of their own time (my kids are at an age where they can do this. If you have littles, then you may need to monitor it for them). If I find that they are not being honest with it or they "forgot" to start their timer, then they lose their WHOLE time. I just tell them that if they are not responsible enough to set and start a timer, then they are not yet responsible enough to have media time. I know...#meanmom.
Then the very next day, they miraculously become responsible and they don't forget to set/start their timer.
It's a true miracle!
If you are interested in creating a list for yourself, here is a link to the Google doc. It's an editable one just for you! It's actually my PowerPoint Template and may look a little wonky since you may not have my same fonts, but you can use whatever fonts you have. :) You WILL NEED Power Point to edit this document.
Editable Summer Screen Time Rules
If you have other ways to limit screen time in the summer, I'd love to hear about it. If you do decide to use a variation of my check list, then I'd also love to hear about how it's going for you!
Enjoy your summer!