This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OurPact. When it comes to most areas of parenting, I’m an advocate of taking the middle road. Usually that means finding balance with common parenting decisions and not treating most questions as “yes or no”.
When it comes to screen time for my son, it’s no different.
Our children are growing up in a generation when screen time is inevitable – and it’s not necessarily a bad thing! But it needs to be balanced. Balancing screen time can be harder with mobile devices – the challenge of our children’s day – than with the TV screens and dial-up connections we grew up with. They literally have the world at their fingertips.
I thought I’d share with you some practical, doable tips for finding balance with screen time.
8 Tips for creating balance with screen time for kids:
1. Educational Content: I like to focus on providing content that will not be empty entertainment. This can include ebooks, educational TV shows, letter-matching games, etc. as opposed to action games and superhero shows. M has learned the alphabet from watching shows, turning it into a good thing.
2. Strict supervision: Whether it’s letting a child have a phone or hold the remote, strict supervision is essential to making sure you have control over the content and time. OurPact is a FREE parental control app that lets you do this remotely, allowing you to limit your child’s device. Scroll down for more information.
3. Time limits: I try to set a time limit before we start (something reasonable that works for MY child.) I give warnings when we’re coming close so that he doesn’t feel like he’s cut off suddenly.
4. Setting boundaries: Set your own boundaries – and stick to them! Don’t let your child wheedle you into more time, a show you don’t approve of, etc. Make it clear that it’s a privilege that plays by Mommy’s rules. A great idea: have your family members sign a contract before allowing devices and such!
5. Pre-conditions: There are certain things that have to be done before screen time happens. For M it can be cleaning up his toys or trying to take an afternoon nap, for older children homework should be a given. I also try to make sure he’s been somewhat active that day as well – be it outdoor time, or even indoor free play (a pre-condition that depends more on my scheduling than anything else.)
6. No guests present: While M has been very blessed with some loving aunts and uncles who are generous with playing a video clip for him on their phones, I very often request that they don’t. I don’t want screen time to come at the expense of social skills, so when there are friends or relatives around, it is simply not the time.
7. Setting a good example as parents: This is a hot issue, especially since I am a “social media mom” and somewhat bound to my phone. I did discuss this more here, but in general, I try to set the tone by putting my phone down, looking him in the eye when he talks to me, and in general, practicing good digital habits.
8. Limiting food while watching: One more thing I try to do is to discourage the “snacking while watching” part, to prevent unhealthy habits from forming.
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How to enforce screen time limits using OurPact:
OurPact is an app that comes to the rescue for moms like me, and helps me enforce many of our “screen time guidelines.”
Using its features and tools, I can set the limits my son needs to be hooked up less, and spend more of his days being a kid. Especially with the summer months coming, and all the gadgets we have around providing temptation that keeps him out of the healthy outdoors, I want to be able to have that control.
OurPact helps me set time limits, supervise, and enforce “quality control” on the content. But possibly most importantly of all, it allows me to set those screen-time boundaries that are so important!
So how does OurPact do that?! It’s simple: you can set your child’s schedule from your device. Dinnertime: block. School: block. The hour after dinner: allow. You can block social media and internet access. You can block apps. And all that will help enable proper social development and better screen time habits.
OurPact can also offer you recommendations for scheduling and app blocking, based on your child’s age and current research. You can control different family members’ usage accordingly. It can also be adjusted on a per-need basis: if your child needs more time to communicate with a family member or research a project, you can easily add some time.
Whether you’re talking about a very young child, or even a teen, the way she learns to behave now will create her future. Learning to unplug when necessary is critical. I know that it’s my job as a parent to guide and to teach, and help my child form good habits. So while it can be easier to step back at times, ther are tools and solutions like OurPact that make this job so much simpler for us. Click on the image below to download the app for free!
Which tips do you have for allowing your children balanced screen time? Comment below!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OurPact.