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Homeschooling Moms Homeschooling Moms

Screen Time...

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 7:44 AM
  • 31 Replies

How does it work in your house?

by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 7:44 AM
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Replies (1-10):
TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Mar. 4, 2014 at 7:53 AM

We have been having some trouble with this here.  We have 2 kids, they are 10.5 and 11.5.  They each have an iPod (this was not something DH and I had wanted, but it happened) and they have an xbox and a wii, as well as tv.

I work in the afternoons and DH usually sleeps until 3 (he typically works nights, he's not just lazy).  The kids have school work until about 12, sometimes 1 (they stop at 12 for lunch).  Twice a week I leave at 11, twice a week I leave at about 2:30, and I am usually home on Wednesdays.  On the days I leave at 11, the kids take complete advantage of it.  They rush through their school work to get screen time.

So the rules are...you have to finish your school work (this includes not giving mom a really hard time about it)...then they get 2 hours total of screen time, except they do have a 30 minute 'assignment' of tv that does not count as part of their 2 hours.  I have also asked that they stop watching mindless shows like spongebob, and to focus more on the history channel, discovery channel, animal planet, etc.

So yesterday we reviewed the rules because I wasn't sure that we had been clear about them.  When I got home from work at about 6:45, DH wasn't happy.  The kids had apparently decided since dad didn't sleep in the morning and ended up falling asleep at 3, that they could continue with screen time for as long as they wanted.  So we are figuring a total of about 4 hours.  On top of that, the tv was a bunch of mindless crap.

So today they get absolutely no screen time.  DH took their iPods and we will decide for how long later today (we try not to yell out a length while frustrated...DH and I have both been grounded for unreasonable amounts of time due to parents that punished while frustrated).


I don't really know what the "right" answer is.  I know they have more free time than they did when they were in school, but I don't want all that free time filled with tv and video games.  They have tons of toys, art supplies, board games, etc.  I mean there are hundreds of things for them to do besides tv.  It is very, very cold here, so outside time is not common right now.  I know it will get better when they can spend the day outside, but what do we do until then?  Is 2 hours a day a good amount? 

jen2150
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 8:18 AM
2 moms liked this
I had the same problem with my kids. It is easy to become absorbed and lose track of time. I think mostly that is the problem. It is a lot of fun and kids are geared toward having fun. It is how they are built to learn. I sat them down and explained that we needed to set some guide lines. I reminded them how they kept complaining they didn't have time at home because we were so busy. I reminded them how they always find time to be on the computer. It is not necessarily a bad thing. They are doing computer science on the computer so it is not something want to discourage. I threw out different ideas and my kids decided on no electronics from 9-6 pm. Saturday is a free day. My kids also only play games similar to what they play in real life. Mostly minicraft and roblox. They are currently wanting to learn Lua which is the language roblox uses. Maybe channel their enthusiasm into something positive. Setting up no screen time has worked well for us. They are allowed to watch educational shows during that time. They also have morning chores they have to do before computer time which ends at 9 am. So if they want to get on the computer they also need to get up early. My kids are morning people so it helps get up in the morning. I think everyone has to find that one special balance that works for them. I suggest trying different things until you find what works. I personally didn't want to set time limits. I don't do that myself. I just balance my time. Also there benefits that come from playing games but I also realize kids and adults should have a variety of interests. Reading, playing, building and Art are important as well. Honestly too my kids usually have a harder time in the winter when it is cold outside. They do not like the cold. They will go outside in the cold but they can only go outside for so long. I also know in the end it evens out because when it is warm again they spend almost every spare moment outside. 2 hours is a good amount but I wouldn't become a stickler for a number. There are a lot of things you can learn at a time. Sometimes I will set a limit for how much they do at once. It is usually an hour but may be 2 hours if they are watching a movie. I hope you find a balance that works for you.
No_Difference
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 8:32 AM
1 mom liked this
http://www.ianswerguy.com/limit-internet-access-using-router-settings/
This might help for internet, but I know there is a device that even lets you set bandwidth to devices so they can't stream videos if they are working on home work need limited access... it can controller video game internet connection, and I thought the consuls themselves... but I could be wrong.
I have become friends with the parental controls on our tv so only certain channels work during certain hours in the day

As for screen time here, my oldest has to earn it, not counting for school use. She automatically gets one he a say. She gets a reasonable allotted time for each assignment and if she finishes before that time, she gets that many minutes added to her screen time. If she goes over, that many minutes are taken away.she has the option to put any of extra time passed and he towards weekend screen time too.
No_Difference
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 8:38 AM
1 mom liked this
Found it. It's called skydog.http://skydog.com/ hubby and I are very much considering this when both of the kids get older to fit in with the parental tv controls :)
hwblyf
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 9:21 AM

We have not paid for television for about 8 years, so the kids don't have access to a lot of mindless stuff.  I'm also home more, so I can guide/dictate from a closer distance.  :)  We recently went to a token system where they have to earn their screen time by doing their chores.  I was TIRED of the fight over chores and them questioning why I was allowed on the iPad anytime I wanted.  So I explained that it was a way to relax, a way to decompress, and you don't need that time if you don't ever do anything except the things you want.  Wow, do I have kids booking to do things.

My problem is a bit different than yours.  "They" (and one day I want to be "they") recommend 2 hours, no more, of combined screen time a day.  Which limits my kids to about 25 minutes of gaming each (I have 5 kids).  Not a big deal to me.  But then they're done.  No movie, no internet, nothing.  And if I went the other end, each kid times 2 hours is 10 total hours of screen time in my house.  BLECH.  So we're still feeling our way around what works best for us.  But there are days there's no screen time, and I'm good with that.  I think they do need to figure out a way to entertain themselves that isn't screen based.  Take 'em camping for 3 weeks, they'll go through withdrawal, but then they'll get used to it.  Till they get home.  :)

OnyxStarlight
by New Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 9:31 AM
1 mom liked this
We use Netflix instead of tv, so I let each of them pick a half hour educational episode a day. They usually get one day a week that they don't have to pick educational shows. They also get an hour each on the computer per day, if there's time, to get on educational websites that reinforce learning and problem-solving. They don't have ipads or phones, so that's not an issue. They're only allowed screen time after their schoolwork and chores are done. The only exceptions to these rules are when we have family movie night or family tv time. Otherwise the tv stays off. DH and I usually watch our shows after the kids go to their rooms for quiet time...the hour or so before bedtime that they spend by themselves to wind down at the end of the day.
TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Mar. 4, 2014 at 9:56 AM

When I say 2 hours, they each get 2 hours, but that doesn't necessarily mean 4 hours total.  They do a lot together, so there shouldn't really be 4 hours of screen time overall...nor does it mean they each get 1 hour. 

I know they get bored sometimes when DH and I aren't around, and it's easy to just pick up the iPod and play for hours, I know they get lost in it.  And it's hard for them to self regulate, because really, what kid wouldn't take advantage if no parents are noticing? 

Quoting hwblyf:

We have not paid for television for about 8 years, so the kids don't have access to a lot of mindless stuff.  I'm also home more, so I can guide/dictate from a closer distance.  :)  We recently went to a token system where they have to earn their screen time by doing their chores.  I was TIRED of the fight over chores and them questioning why I was allowed on the iPad anytime I wanted.  So I explained that it was a way to relax, a way to decompress, and you don't need that time if you don't ever do anything except the things you want.  Wow, do I have kids booking to do things.

My problem is a bit different than yours.  "They" (and one day I want to be "they") recommend 2 hours, no more, of combined screen time a day.  Which limits my kids to about 25 minutes of gaming each (I have 5 kids).  Not a big deal to me.  But then they're done.  No movie, no internet, nothing.  And if I went the other end, each kid times 2 hours is 10 total hours of screen time in my house.  BLECH.  So we're still feeling our way around what works best for us.  But there are days there's no screen time, and I'm good with that.  I think they do need to figure out a way to entertain themselves that isn't screen based.  Take 'em camping for 3 weeks, they'll go through withdrawal, but then they'll get used to it.  Till they get home.  :)


TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Mar. 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM

My kids do mostly play minecraft (on the xbox or iPods)..so I know they are using their brains at least partially for that.  They have even built Ancient Rome on there and were working on some other things, like Pyramids.

I really like the idea of a certain timeframe during the day of no electronics, I just talked to them and they think 8-4 is fair (we usually start schoolwork at about 8).  At 4 they watch a bible show, and then from 4:30 until 7:30 they would be able to play video games, eat dinner, and maybe watch a movie until 8 sometimes.  And they would be able to play from 7:30-8am.  Weekends are more relaxed.  Thanks for sharing your ideas, it was really helpful.

Quoting jen2150: I had the same problem with my kids. It is easy to become absorbed and lose track of time. I think mostly that is the problem. It is a lot of fun and kids are geared toward having fun. It is how they are built to learn. I sat them down and explained that we needed to set some guide lines. I reminded them how they kept complaining they didn't have time at home because we were so busy. I reminded them how they always find time to be on the computer. It is not necessarily a bad thing. They are doing computer science on the computer so it is not something want to discourage. I threw out different ideas and my kids decided on no electronics from 9-6 pm. Saturday is a free day. My kids also only play games similar to what they play in real life. Mostly minicraft and roblox. They are currently wanting to learn Lua which is the language roblox uses. Maybe channel their enthusiasm into something positive. Setting up no screen time has worked well for us. They are allowed to watch educational shows during that time. They also have morning chores they have to do before computer time which ends at 9 am. So if they want to get on the computer they also need to get up early. My kids are morning people so it helps get up in the morning. I think everyone has to find that one special balance that works for them. I suggest trying different things until you find what works. I personally didn't want to set time limits. I don't do that myself. I just balance my time. Also there benefits that come from playing games but I also realize kids and adults should have a variety of interests. Reading, playing, building and Art are important as well. Honestly too my kids usually have a harder time in the winter when it is cold outside. They do not like the cold. They will go outside in the cold but they can only go outside for so long. I also know in the end it evens out because when it is warm again they spend almost every spare moment outside. 2 hours is a good amount but I wouldn't become a stickler for a number. There are a lot of things you can learn at a time. Sometimes I will set a limit for how much they do at once. It is usually an hour but may be 2 hours if they are watching a movie. I hope you find a balance that works for you.


TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Mar. 4, 2014 at 10:06 AM

I think part of the problem is my DH.  He is the one that gets frustrated that they have too much screen time, but he does not set a good example at all.  He uses tv and video games as down time, but most of his awake time that the kids see (since he works nights), he is having down time.

This is definitely better in the warmer months, since he gets outside and does stuff too, but in the winter we all spend too much time watching tv and playing video games (or for me, spending time on cafemom).

Quoting OnyxStarlight: We use Netflix instead of tv, so I let each of them pick a half hour educational episode a day. They usually get one day a week that they don't have to pick educational shows. They also get an hour each on the computer per day, if there's time, to get on educational websites that reinforce learning and problem-solving. They don't have ipads or phones, so that's not an issue. They're only allowed screen time after their schoolwork and chores are done. The only exceptions to these rules are when we have family movie night or family tv time. Otherwise the tv stays off. DH and I usually watch our shows after the kids go to their rooms for quiet time...the hour or so before bedtime that they spend by themselves to wind down at the end of the day.


jen2150
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 10:10 AM
1 mom liked this
Your welcome. It really helped us and I like the fact we talked and came up with something that worked for both of us.

Quoting TJandKarasMom:

My kids do mostly play minecraft (on the xbox or iPods)..so I know they are using their brains at least partially for that.  They have even built Ancient Rome on there and were working on some other things, like Pyramids.

I really like the idea of a certain timeframe during the day of no electronics, I just talked to them and they think 8-4 is fair (we usually start schoolwork at about 8).  At 4 they watch a bible show, and then from 4:30 until 7:30 they would be able to play video games, eat dinner, and maybe watch a movie until 8 sometimes.  And they would be able to play from 7:30-8am.  Weekends are more relaxed.  Thanks for sharing your ideas, it was really helpful.

Quoting jen2150: I had the same problem with my kids. It is easy to become absorbed and lose track of time. I think mostly that is the problem. It is a lot of fun and kids are geared toward having fun. It is how they are built to learn. I sat them down and explained that we needed to set some guide lines. I reminded them how they kept complaining they didn't have time at home because we were so busy. I reminded them how they always find time to be on the computer. It is not necessarily a bad thing. They are doing computer science on the computer so it is not something want to discourage. I threw out different ideas and my kids decided on no electronics from 9-6 pm. Saturday is a free day. My kids also only play games similar to what they play in real life. Mostly minicraft and roblox. They are currently wanting to learn Lua which is the language roblox uses. Maybe channel their enthusiasm into something positive. Setting up no screen time has worked well for us. They are allowed to watch educational shows during that time. They also have morning chores they have to do before computer time which ends at 9 am. So if they want to get on the computer they also need to get up early. My kids are morning people so it helps get up in the morning. I think everyone has to find that one special balance that works for them. I suggest trying different things until you find what works. I personally didn't want to set time limits. I don't do that myself. I just balance my time. Also there benefits that come from playing games but I also realize kids and adults should have a variety of interests. Reading, playing, building and Art are important as well. Honestly too my kids usually have a harder time in the winter when it is cold outside. They do not like the cold. They will go outside in the cold but they can only go outside for so long. I also know in the end it evens out because when it is warm again they spend almost every spare moment outside. 2 hours is a good amount but I wouldn't become a stickler for a number. There are a lot of things you can learn at a time. Sometimes I will set a limit for how much they do at once. It is usually an hour but may be 2 hours if they are watching a movie. I hope you find a balance that works for you.

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