Are you already arguing with your children about screen time this summer? It is a never-ending battle at my house. I don’t mind my children using electronics (especially on gloomy days) but my kids need limits. I finally created this No Screen Time Until Checklist to help manage screen time this summer, and throughout the year.
We have a few basic rules to help control screen time. No electronics are allowed in their rooms overnight. We monitor their devices so we can see what they are doing and for how long. If you don’t follow the house rules you lose your device for a period of time.
In my house, basic rules work better when they are on paper. My kids are very forgetful when it comes to chores and responsibilities at times. This summer check list helps remind kids of their daily responsibilities so you don’t have to do it 24/7.
Put the Kids in Charge (of their screen time)
I haven’t lost my mind… hear me out.
If my child knows how much time they have on their device before the day begins, we have less arguments later in the day. A child can lose the time if they don’t complete the checklist. By making expectations clear, you are putting your child in control of their day. If they finish the list, they get screen time, if not they don’t. It’s totally on them.
Putting my kids in charge has changed the dynamic of many of our conversations.
Child: “Mom, can I play on the iPad?”
Me: “Have you completed the checklist”
Child: “Well, almost, kind of, I didn’t get to, I couldn’t find my, she took my….”
Me: “Once YOU decide to complete the checklist you can use the iPad. It’s totally up to you. If you don’t want to use the iPad today then that’s ok too. It’s your decision.”
Child: Walks away… usually irritated but knows it’s on them.
This method has been a game changer for my kids. However it works best if you set expectations from the beginning.
Routines are VERY important to me, and I want them to be important to my kids. Even in the summer it’s important my kids follow a schedule so I’m not cleaning up after them all day long. My kids need to get dressed, eat, take care of personal hygiene (why is this so difficult!), and complete chores FIRST.
Obviously some days they can’t go outside or they might not have chores, but knowing certain things are expected of them each day before they get screen time makes it easier.
Some of my kids will gravitate towards their electronics if I don’t encourage (aka force) them to do other things. When they were younger I used the I’m Bored Jar to give them ideas for fun activities they could do on their own or together.
I’ve included playing outside on the checklist. Don’t skip this, even if it means you sit outside with them. (I remember those days of having to supervise every second of my child’s day).
This isn’t an article on the benefits of free play outside, but it’s good for kids to play outside, exercise, and get dirty. Sometimes they just need a little encouragement to get out there.
I’ve found over the years that it’s rare for my kids to come inside once they go outside. For example, yesterday all the kids were on their devices. I sent them outside to play and two hours later they came back inside. They only came inside because I called them for lunch.
Often it only takes an idea for them to find something else they love to do and not ask for screen time at all during the day.
Get your FREE Checklist
Download the free checklist and place it on the fridge, bulletin board, bedroom door, wherever the kids are most likely to see it regularly. Refer to the list when the kids ask for their electronics when they haven’t completed their jobs. Make the list enforce the rules so you don’t have to.
We added blank lines to the checklist so you can personalize if for you family.