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?
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:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.