Summer – Our Screen Time Plan
Where Parenting Meets Technology: A Screen Time Plan that WORKS!
At the outset of summer, we were determined to put together a screen time plan for our 10-year-old that laid the ground rules in advance and headed off any unnecessary conflict. While we were familiar with the Magic 1-2-3 system from the toddler years, we were reminded of it again when it resurfaced in pop-economist, Emily Oster’s rigorous data analysis of positive parenting programs.
We were curious how it would work in mitigating screen time struggles for older children and are jubilant that it has been so effective. While there is a settling in period, consistency ultimately triumphs over any resistance.
Why It Works
- Clearly spelling out expectations and consequences helps
- You know what you’ve communicated
- Your child knows the consequences for noncompliance
- Consistent language makes it easier for your child to know what you’re talking about (e.g.Basic Responsibilities, Family Contributions and Summer Learning)
- The 3 strikes method indicates to your child when a boundary is crossed or expectation isn’t met, without you losing your cool
- The consequences matter to your child
- Printed copies serve as visual cues (our daughter wanted a second copy for her bedroom)
We’ve found that when we waste time arguing over screens, we’re not only inducing unnecessary strain on our relationship, but we’re also undercutting the time we might have otherwise spent enjoying each other’s company. We’ve tried to emphasize that the less time we have to spend cajoling or chiding our child to meet their Basic Responsibilities or put their devices away, means more time to spend together.
Invite your child to brainstorm what activities she would like to do more of with you, and encourage your child to have an I’m Bored plan. The next time boredom strikes, which it inevitably will, your child will be prepared with a self-initiated list of things to do. And if it falls short, you can always offer up a list of chores.
Also, taking yourself out of the equation when it comes to shutting off devices can make a huge difference. In the near term, you can avoid the tussle, and over the long haul, it’s part of teaching kids self-regulation and that technology has limits.
Coming soon: Our Screen Time Setup Tool to guide you through setting up Apple’s latest parental controls.
It’s in View Only Mode, but under File, select Make a Copy