When I shut off the screen, my daughter will then complain, “I’m bored.” Next she’ll suggest using the iPad or the computer for creative purposes. She’ll want to use a drawing app, or reference YouTube for origami-making videos. I can see the appeal, but sometimes I just want her to take a break. Any suggestions?

 

“I’m Bored!”

We’ve definitely been there, and this is one of the harder aspects of ‘parenting technology.’ Most of us don’t want our kids to be screen-dependent. We want them to look up, play with their friends, get some fresh air, and exercise. But in today’s world, screens can be intertwined with constructive play and exploration, and tight-rope walking the online/offline balance is tricky.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Share that sometimes you think it’s fine to use screens for creative purposes, but sometimes you think your daughter just needs to take a break
  2. Share your concerns that too much time on screens:
    • Causes us to be sedentary–we don’t get enough movement or physical activity
    • Keeps us from getting outside and fresh air
    • Replaces time for reading and playing with other children
    • Exposes us to blue light, and too much can be harmful to our eyes
  3. Help your child to create good alternatives
    • Encourage your children’s interests and hobbies. What would s/he like to do more of, who would s/he like to have a playdate with (help your child to plan ahead).
    • Have your child make an “I’m Bored” list, brainstorming 10 things she could do around the house the next time she’s bored. Keep a copy on your phone for easy access when a reminder is needed. Refer to Our Best Practices for Managing Screen Time.
  4. If your child is using an iPhone or iPad running iOS 12 you can really slice and dice screen time and set time limits for specific apps used for:
    • Entertainment
    • Education
    • Creative endeavors

With Apple’s Screen Time tools you can determine how much time your comfortable spending on each of these discrete activities.  See Our Guide to Managing Screen Time Scenarios.

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