Author Topic: how to keep screen time down  (Read 2819 times)

letsdoit

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how to keep screen time down
« on: June 25, 2018, 11:50:03 AM »
hi, our child is 2 YO and it's already a bit of a struggle.  she just loves screens!  we always try to hide.  and 98% of people are like 'what's your problem just let them watch?'

Psychstache

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2018, 12:33:11 PM »
We have an almost 2 year old. Things we use that generally work: Set limits, give clear warnings for when screen time is coming to a close, lots of first-thens, and redirecting to other activities when ST is over.

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2018, 12:36:58 PM »
The struggle only gets worse as your kid gets older and they see/know other kids who have their own devices or get to watch a lot of TV.  This is a sensitive area because parents use screens, too (work, personal use) and can have their own attachments to them (I certainly do).

Our approach is to let them watch a little and to pour a lot of effort into doing other activities with the kids.  Take them on errands, outside to play, read books, play alongside them, talk to them.  Even harder is to let them see you doing non-screen activities (like reading a paper book).  And keep at it.  We are by no means perfect with this but we keep trying. 

Zamboni

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2018, 03:02:48 PM »
No TV's or computers in bedrooms. Lots of other activities to keep us busy (like board games, card games, sports).

Keep it as a special treat at this age. Once you have a teenager with a phone, you pretty much might as well give up the struggle.

Sitting nearly motionless tapping on my computer keyboard for hours at a time . . . I must look weird to my dog.

Sibley

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2018, 03:15:52 PM »
Get off your phones yourselves. If mommy is always on her phone, of course the kid wants to as well.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2018, 09:15:59 PM »
While my 2-year old asks just about every night "can I watch robot video?" (he loves the Boston Dynamics robot videos on YouTube) the answer is generally no. Our oldest is almost 10 and none of our kids will be getting phones or tablets (perhaps once they get a car). We have a single TV that they get to watch one show from Netflix/Amazon Prime and it rotates between the kids each day. Our daughter who is 4 usually gets to watch one show then her three older brothers another one. I usually have my phone in my pocket but it stays there 99% of the time when the kids are awake. I might pull it out if some question comes up at dinner that I can't answer i.e. what's the population of some random country. We have a laptop that our oldest two boys use for online math lessons but that's it.


It boils down to modeling behavior that does not including being glued to a screen yourself and simply not providing them to your kids. Just don't buy them a computer, tablet, phone, etc. I didn't get a cell phone until my first year of college and I managed to survive, as did the rest of my generation. I frankly spent way too much time on my computer as a teenager so I won't even let my kids get exposed to that trap. It helps in all of this that we homeschool so our kids aren't constantly surrounded by friends with cell phones or who talk about what video games they're playing. Legos, books, and a backyard keep them plenty occupied.

elliha

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2018, 02:45:50 AM »
Take away all tablet and phone access until the child stops asking for it. It might take months but that is the way you break the habit. Then the child can have restricted access to it but if any sign is there that the child "needs" it to calm down or throws fits about it start another "fast". My daughter's tablet will "go on vacation" if she becomes to attached to it and she knows now at 6 that the best way to get it back more quickly is to not ask for it.

With TV and computers I am less restrictive. My kids do not become as stuck with these things, when things bore them they just get away and play something or they play and watch at the same time and I am actually OK with that, I also enjoy having the sound of the TV there but do something else. However, if it is the weekend or we are off and they start sitting like drones I tell them to turn it off and do something. If this leads to screaming I explain that if you start screaming like that it is your body reacting to watching too much and they can decide if they are going to go and play now and get to watch it again tomorrow or if they are going to have a fast from TV too. So far the second option has never needed to happen. I have no problem what so ever with restricting things but if it works out I am not anal about time either. I am totally OK with 1-2 hours of TV if the child is OK with turning it off and they take initiative to stop watching and go play instead. Both my kids are at a good weight for their height and age, they are very verbal and before their age in this field and they play very imaginatively so I am not worried about any damage by letting them watch TV or use a tablet.

Unlimited use may be OK when the older is sick but just for that period. She is not good at resting when she is ill and never takes a nap so getting her to rest by sitting down is only good in this situation. Normally I want them active as much as possible but when they are sick I think the recover more quickly with resting.

starbuck

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2018, 05:48:45 AM »
We have a 2.5 year old. There is a 100% ban on him having any access to phones or tablets. The exceptions are taking a selfie with Auntie or looking at the picture I just asked him to say cheese for. When he had intermittent access to handheld screens, he turned into a little monster the second it was taken away, so we just went to 100% ban. He never even tries to get a phone or asks about it anymore.

We're more lenient with TV, but I might restrict that more than I have been because he's been whining more frequently to watch it whenever we're home. We sometimes have a family movie afternoon on the weekends where we make popcorn and cuddle on the couch together, but he usually gets up halfway through to go play with some toys while we finish watching it.

Personally, I'm trying to be more aware of when I have my phone out in front of him and model good behavior, and gosh, maybe even read a damn book instead of scrolling through Facebook for the 100th time.

Kapiira

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2018, 10:09:17 AM »
For us it worked best to have very defined rules about when electronics are allowed.  For example, they get to watch tv or play games on Saturday and Sunday mornings for 2 hours.  They're allowed to bring electronics in the car if the ride is longer than an hour.  I found that when the rules were less well-defined they were asking all the time.

Laura33

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2018, 02:29:17 PM »
Your kid is 2.  If she wasn't fussing about the screens, she'd be fussing about something else.  Because the job of any self-respecting 2-yr-old is to assert her independence from you.  And that means disagreeing -- vociferously -- with whatever you want to do, for no other reason than because you want her to do it.

So my advice would be to lower your expectations -- stop expecting her to comply; stop assuming that there is a magic solution that creates happy, compliant toddlers; stop assuming that her fussing means that you just haven't found just the "right" rules or approach or quantity/quality of screen time or [insert next idea here].  Just stand your ground, calmly and kindly, on whatever your house rules are.  And remind yourself that the fussing means your kid is developing appropriately (as frequently as necessary to maintain your sanity!).

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2018, 07:16:33 AM »
All of the above advice is really great.

Also remember that YOU are the parent. Your child at this age does not make autonomous decisions like that.

If the screen is available they'll play. Take it out of sight and ban it for 3 weeks and they'll begin to not ask for it, I promise.

In regards to others who say things like, "Oh it's just a movie or a game". Tell them, yep, and I choose not take them outside or read books instead - or whatever. It's OK to be different. :)

SimpleCycle

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2018, 02:06:33 PM »
We're the parents.  No phones or tablets, except on airplanes and long distance buses.  We only have one TV, and watching it is a family event, reserved for a movie over the weekend usually.  If you're solo parenting, you get to put on a TV episode during dinner prep to keep the children from diving into the oven.

Other than that, we just...don't do screen time.  We try very hard to limit our own screen use when the kids are awake as well.

Edited to add: our kids are 1 and 3 and we will modify this as they get older.  For now, screens are a treat.

backandforth

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2018, 12:13:58 PM »
Agree with others. Just stand your ground, they will be fine and find other things to entertain themselves if you don't give any screen time, period.

We started off with about 20 minutes every couple of days after they turned 2. Then slowly that turned into everyday, then it turned into 1 hour on weekdays and 2 hours over the weekend by the time they were 2.5. In the meantime, they were reading less and less, and harder to please (terrible 2 likely had something to do with that as well). Then my son just whined for TV ALL THE TIME, and cried the moment we reminded him "this is the last one" for the fifth time, and will scream for at least 30 minutes after it's actually off. At that point I decided this is it. There is no benefit whatsoever coming out of this TV watching (if I get 30 minutes to cook when they watch it, I have to spending at least 30 minutes after to calm the crying one). I just cut it off cold turkey. I told them the TV is broken. Some tears and begging for 2 days, and a lot less on the third day, and on and off asking for a few weeks, then they don't even look at the TV anymore. They are back on books, and a lot more pretended plays, and much better behaved in general (probably has something to do with growing up, of course).

I don't plan to bring TV or any screen time back anytime soon. I hope if we could help them engage in good alternatives or healthy hobbies down the line they may not get hooked on that too much.

We are doing the same thing with sugar, except for we are never allow them go off track on that ever. They are 3, and refuse to eat too much sugary stuff without intervention. The 3rd cookie at friend's party will be left behind, and someone would say "it's too sweet" YAY!)

$andra

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2018, 06:35:24 PM »
We intentionally have one TV, and it's rarely on. Keep it out of the bedrooms or kitchen and your vehicles. We listen to audiobooks, music, or the news in the car. (A long running car favorite is the 4-volume Story of the World series. World history for kids. Make your car time profitable).

During the school year, we do screentime on weekends (F-Sun) only, for a maximum of 2 hours. In the summer, they may also have screentime on Wednesdays. Otherwise they know not to ask. Our kids do not have their own devices, and likely won't until high school. Everything is password protected, and they have to ask to turn on the TV or play Minecraft on the Playstation (and are required to set a timer, usually for 30 or 60 minutes.) They've had rare coding lessons with Dad. Occasionally we'll watch something as a family (homesteading shows are a favorite -- watch other humans produce things!) If they want to research something on the internet, they can ask Alexa (Amazon Echo) or I will look it up with them.

We provide them with lots of other activities, projects, and toys, both inside and out, and they spend a ton of time in creative play. They have full bookshelves and unrestricted access to a big cabinet of building materials and art supplies. I also read out loud for nearly an hour every evening.

Some of our kids' favorites at 2: a large box of differently colored dried beans to play with, sand table, water table, bristle blocks, doll and stroller, wooden trains, duplos, crayons and paper, bubble machine, building forts inside and out, big stacks of board books, cardboard boxes.


MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2018, 08:03:19 PM »
The struggle only gets worse as your kid gets older and they see/know other kids who have their own devices or get to watch a lot of TV.  This is a sensitive area because parents use screens, too (work, personal use) and can have their own attachments to them (I certainly do).

Our approach is to let them watch a little and to pour a lot of effort into doing other activities with the kids.  Take them on errands, outside to play, read books, play alongside them, talk to them.  Even harder is to let them see you doing non-screen activities (like reading a paper book).  And keep at it.  We are by no means perfect with this but we keep trying.

This. We have 11 & 12 year old boys. I'd estimate that 75% of their friends already have cell phones, and all of their friends game regularly. We allow 20-30 minutes of gaming on weekends, assuming grades are okay. My older son struggled a bit in math this year (not turning work in - not a skill issue), and therefore gets zero games all summer. We just came off of a vacation with my sister/nephews (all of whom I adore & get along well with in other aspects), and it reiterated how reluctant we are to allow cell phones. Unless they are tightly controlled, kids are on them A LOT throughout the day & the amount of time wasted on games does get in the way of family time, sports time, and just being a kid. We will not buy our kids a cell phone for at least another year. The kids watch tv for about 30 minutes in the evening. . . oh, unless it's the World Cup! Lots of soccer watching happening at our house over the past week.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2018, 08:28:35 PM »
Your kid is 2.  If she wasn't fussing about the screens, she'd be fussing about something else.  Because the job of any self-respecting 2-yr-old is to assert her independence from you.  And that means disagreeing -- vociferously -- with whatever you want to do, for no other reason than because you want her to do it.
The most cogent and useful reply in this thread.

If it's not screens, it'll be something else. But speaking about more than just toddlers, if you have a particular concern about screens, then lead by example. If you were staring at a blank spot on the wall for eight hours a day you'd expect the child to become curious about that blank spot, wouldn't you?

My kids don't have tablets, phones, etc - they're 7 and 2. Once they get into high school it might be appropriate, we'll see. But a primary school kid doesn't need a computer or phone. As for the telly, I view it the same way I view junk food: have it once you've had the good stuff. And I find this a more useful way to think of parenting: focus on what you want them to do, not on what you don't want them to do. It's not simply, "turn off the telly", it's "go outside and play" or "read this book aloud to me" or whatever.

But first have the good stuff, then the junk. So if they eat their vegies they can have ice cream. If they're been running around outside for a couple of hours they can watch telly. Tough is the rainy days. Obviously I can't play with or teach them all day, I have other things to do. But if you don't entertain a child, they will entertain themselves, and you may or may not like how they do it. With just telly, my kids go a bit mental after an hour or two, whatever the show is. I find about two hours a day of physical activity is what they need; less than that they get antsy, more than that they get overtired. Some kids need more, some less, but every kid I've seen needs some amount each day.

The interesting thing I've noticed too is that if they're sitting around watching telly, they ask for junk food a lot, and refuse good food; if they've been outside running around, they happily eat the good food I offer them, and usually forget to ask for junk food. Healthy activity leads to a healthy appetite. I don't know the physiology behind it, if any, it's just an observation, and it holds true for my gym members, too.

Anyhow... lead by example.

PharmaStache

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2018, 10:09:06 AM »
1. Send them to daycare where there are no screens (that sure made things easy for us :). )
2. No iPad/phone for toddlers.  We did very limited ipad (for tv shows) on long road trips starting around 3.  Educational games started around the same time, maybe an hour a week.
3. No kids watching youtube alone on an ipad EVER. 
4. TV time for toddlers/preschoolers was at set times- for example, one show before a nap, or one show after supper every day.  This has been relaxed as the kids get older.
5. No video games (yet).  DH is a gamer so we have all the systems but he only plays once the kids are in bed.

soccerluvof4

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2018, 03:21:36 PM »
For every hour they read (verified) they can have an hour of  screen time with a max of two hours a day on weekends and one hour during the week once all homework and other stuff is done and no later than 2 hours before bedtime.

kimmarg

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2018, 06:25:59 AM »
We're the parents.  No phones or tablets, except on airplanes and long distance buses.  We only have one TV, and watching it is a family event, reserved for a movie over the weekend usually.  If you're solo parenting, you get to put on a TV episode during dinner prep to keep the children from diving into the oven.

Other than that, we just...don't do screen time.  We try very hard to limit our own screen use when the kids are awake as well.

Edited to add: our kids are 1 and 3 and we will modify this as they get older.  For now, screens are a treat.

This is simlar to what we do. Phones and tablets only FaceTime Grandma, the 2.5 year old has never played with them. TV episode (30min) while we cook dinner has become a bit of a standard, at least when there is one person home. And either parent or kid is sick TV is a free-for-all whatever it takes to get through a household with the flu.

TVRodriguez

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2018, 12:59:41 PM »
For us it worked best to have very defined rules about when electronics are allowed.  For example, they get to watch tv or play games on Saturday and Sunday mornings for 2 hours.  They're allowed to bring electronics in the car if the ride is longer than an hour.  I found that when the rules were less well-defined they were asking all the time.

This.  DH set a rule that electronics game time is only on weekend mornings from 6am to 8am.  All electronics turn off at 8am.  Electronics in the car only on long trips.  They are also allowed to share a netflix show in the evenings if all homework is done, clothes are set out for the next day, teeth are brushed, pajamas are on, etc.  Bedtime for our kids this summer is at 9pm, whether the show is over or not, the tv turns off.

clairebonk

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2018, 03:10:40 PM »
I tell my kids that other kids are allowed to watch tv because their parents don't want to spend time with them. But in our house, we enjoy each other's company so much that watching tv is unnecessary.

Is this forked-up? Maybe. But it's also kinda true. About once a month we turn on Doc McStuffins on the laptop (we don't have a tv) because we do need a break.

We do watch youtube videos every time they have a question such as "how do you brush your teeth in space" or "can I see a tractor that digs out trees". We do that several times a week.


Mongoose

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2018, 06:43:49 PM »
We're the parents.  No phones or tablets, except on airplanes and long distance buses.  We only have one TV, and watching it is a family event, reserved for a movie over the weekend usually.  If you're solo parenting, you get to put on a TV episode during dinner prep to keep the children from diving into the oven.

Other than that, we just...don't do screen time.  We try very hard to limit our own screen use when the kids are awake as well.

Edited to add: our kids are 1 and 3 and we will modify this as they get older.  For now, screens are a treat.
This is us too. Except we got rid of the TV entirely. Too cheap frugal to pay for shows and too remote for any free signal. Kids are 7 and 9. They can watch TV on the rare night we stay at a motel and when we visit the grandparents. But we haven't had TV since they were babies and are finding they get super bored with the shows they see occasionally. They have tablets for airplane rides and long wait times (like when they had to sit through my twice weekly physical therapy appointments) but they get bored with the games pretty fast. The school "screen free week challenge" was pretty funny. They both love books though (actual paper ones).

TVRodriguez

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2018, 09:02:03 AM »
I tell my kids that other kids are allowed to watch tv because their parents don't want to spend time with them.

Hahahahaha.  When we were kids, lots of our friends went to sleep-away summer camps.  We whined that we never go to go.  My mom used to tell us that she didn't send us away because she loved us and wanted to spend time with us.

CNM

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2018, 10:36:28 AM »
My child is older (5) so this might not work for you, but we exchange screen time for various chores/duties.  If he practices his piano, he can earn 10 minutes of screen time(This only happens 3x a week usually).  If he does all of his daily chores, he can earn another 10 minutes.  If he does all of his chores for the week, then he can earn something extra, like 1 movie. There are other rewards, too.  In the past, we'd do a monetary allowance but, frankly, my son's true "currency" is TV/games. He is WAY more into screen time than any amount of cash.  He can save up his time or use it immediately.  The truth of the matter is that there is not a whole lot of extra time during the regular work week for him to sit and veg in front of a screen.  On the weekends there is usually more free time for a more substantial screen time, like a movie night.
 
Surprisingly, his school assessments are done on computers.  It was a challenge for him at the beginning of the school year last year, because he hadn't ever used a mouse before. 

I'll also note that sometimes my spouse and I are just plain tired/busy and we need a "TV babysitter" every so often.  That is just a reality of parenting.  Call the parent police!

GizmoTX

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2018, 11:02:45 AM »
When DS needed to use a laptop for homework starting at grade 6, I installed content monitoring software on it plus time limits, i.e. no use from 10 pm to 7 am without my input. This only works if you restrict the admin account for yourself & set up a separate user account for your child's use where admin privileges are not available. DS didn't have a tablet or smartphone then, so no access that way to the internet, which is a very dangerous jungle IMO. TV time was restricted & content was mostly pre-recorded so that we knew what he was watching. DS was allowed full access at age 16, when good habits were already established (& we no longer have much control).

Couponergal

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2018, 07:32:11 PM »
We use an app called Kidslox. It does cost $3.99/mo but it has been helpful for us setting limits. We have been using tablet as well for eye patching. It will completely lock the device for you with a lock screen and you can log in with a pin. I am looking for a free version of this but I love it. If time's up, times up. I'm not the bad guy.

jpdx

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2018, 01:04:16 AM »
My kiddo is two and he thinks TV is that black rectangle in the corner that does nothing.

We don't do screen time, and don't plan to for quite some time. Right now our kid is obsessed with books -- like insisting on reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar eight times in a row -- and we're happy with this. If kiddo is bored at home, we walk to the park.

But screens will happen eventually, and we'd like to learn more about the appropriate age to make the introduction. I'm sure no one agrees, but is there any evidence-based information we can all look at?

letsdoit

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2018, 09:19:17 AM »
my impression is that the boards suggest no screen until 2 (they softened that, see below)

i say less screens is more.  they learn better from real people bc you know, the entirety of evolution made it so

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/10/21/498550475/american-academy-of-pediatrics-lifts-no-screens-under-2-rule

good question about how to start it and when

waltworks

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2018, 12:39:17 PM »
We just don't have a TV or any other devices the kids can easily use. We don't watch any ourselves. No screen time possible, problem solved.

Remember, screen time isn't just bad for your kid - it's bad for you, too.

-W

shelivesthedream

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2018, 09:07:52 PM »
We just don't have a TV or any other devices the kids can easily use. We don't watch any ourselves. No screen time possible, problem solved.

Remember, screen time isn't just bad for your kid - it's bad for you, too.

-W

+1

We're concerned about our child and screens, but at the end of the day we have a smartphone each and one laptop between us. How bad is it going to get?

letsdoit

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #30 on: August 03, 2018, 07:15:45 AM »
It appears, as others, that the example we set is the salient point
it's possible to have a smartphone and laptop and not give the kid the impression that you would rather candy crush a stranger than look your child in the face

Kaplin261

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2018, 05:23:16 AM »
TV is the ultimate stimulation for my child. If the TV is on he will ignore food,friends and even his own needs like going to the bathroom.

We do put limits on the TV. We also don't have cable TV so what he gets to watch is limited to whatever is on youtube. He has never seen a commercial in his life unless it was something on over at his grandparents house while we were visiting. He gets less than 12 hours per week of screen time and we haven't noticed any development issues with him. We do ensure the quality of programming he watches has some educational benefits.

CargoBiker

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Re: how to keep screen time down
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2018, 03:03:00 PM »
If the answer is always No, they'll stop asking.

The tradeoff is that you have to be willing to help or encourage them to find something else to do instead.   This is tough when you've gotten home from work and are tired.   The choice is helped if you just don't have a tv at all.  Engineer your environment to support your goals.


Also, I put my phone in the closet when I'm at home, the kids don't see me using one.   I use it at work, I use it when the kids go to bed.   Exception being calling grandma together or pulling up a recipie or something like that.