This is a Screen Time App sponsored post.
Do you struggle with teaching your kids how to balance screen time with family time, chores, homework and play? So do I!
I’m a firm believer that technology is important and screen time should not be completely banned. Screens are not going away and I want my kids to learn to balance their time on and off the screens. Banning screens will not teach them to do that.
The Problems With Teaching Kids To Balance Screen Time
Teaching kids to balance screen time is difficult because you are asking them to balance having fun, being with friends with chores, homework and family time.
- Do your kids want to get up on Saturday morning and Facetime with friends or do chores?
- Do your kids want to play video games or study for a math test?
- Do your kids want text in group chats with their friends or babysit their little brother?
These are the choices we are asking them to make when balancing screen time. They are going to need help seeing and understanding that there are things that must be done first.
How the Screen Time App Can Help Your Family Balance Screen Time
In my house, my kids would rather do anything than do their chores. If we ever fight about anything it’s over chores.
- Who has kitchen?
- Who didn’t clean up after themselves after watching movies?
- Who needs to change the kitty litter?
- Who has to take the trash out?
These are words heard in my house EVERY day. We have tried every chore chart and app known to man. Many of them linking screen time with chores and nothing worked.
What Makes the Screen Time App Different?
So, I was a bit weary of the Screen Time App at first. This app is different because it has built-in motivation and teaches them to prioritize their lives (which is really what I see balancing screen time all about.)
First, the Screen Time App looks at the whole picture. They realize that kids need the screens for school and that it is also their social life. Their goal is not to ban, but to balance.
Our kids social life does look a lot different than ours did and that is ok.
Second, I know this app was built by a family who uses the app. That makes a huge difference for me. Apps that are designed because a person saw a need in their own life are the best. They didn’t “think” someone would need this. THEY needed it.
And third, the app involves the kids. It isn’t just the parents dictating when and how kids use their screens. It gives the kids the ability to learn how to balance by actually having to balance their own screen time with chores and more.
5 Tips For Balancing Screen Time
We started using the Screen Time App a week ago and so far, we love it. I’m going to spend Christmas break really putting it to work and will have a full review in January.
Here are 5 tips that we found useful as we began Project Balance Screen Time in the McGraw household.
- Start with a family meeting. Sit down with your family and explain to your kids why you want to use the Screen Time App. I told my family this is not punishment, but rather to teach them skills needed for life long screen time balance. I want them to feel a part of this solution and not the problem.
- Listen to your kids. They are going to have concerns and questions. I told my kids to ask anything during this family meeting. Their first concern was that we would block access during the school day. Our school allows the kids to use their phones for class, so I am not blocking school time access. The Screen Time App gives you the ability to make these choices for each child.
- Start a trial project. Change is always scary and since kids see their phones as their life line to their friends, any limitations are going to freak them out. The Screen Time App offers a 14 day trial which is perfect. I told my kids we are going to test this full force during their holiday break since they are all home and I can see what happens on their phones when I make changes in the app. Let your kids know this is the time to bring any problems they see to your attention. There will be a learning curve for your family.
- Have a follow up discussion at the end of your trial. On the last day of break, we will sit down and have an open discussion about how well this project worked. Did they feel motivated? Did they feel the consequences were fair? Having a formal plan will help everyone. Learning to balance screen time is an ongoing project and should never end.
- Share your end goal. I explained that my goal is not to monitor everything they do, but rather to teach them to eventually not need the Screen Time App. If taught properly as kids, when they are adults, balancing screen time with work, chores and family will be natural and not another chore.
Balancing screen time is a skill that your kids will use for the rest of their life. For us, screens didn’t become so important until many of us were adults, so it wasn’t always part of our daily lives growing up. While teaching my kids to balance their screen time, I’ve learned a lot about my own screen time balancing act.
Last, But Most Important Bonus Tip
Remember, kids will do what you do and not what you say, so my most important tip is to go through this project with your kids. Balance your own screen time and they will understand how important this is. You can create meaningful family moments while using technology if you strive for balance.
For More Information
Let’s Discuss Balancing Screen Time!
Share your tips below for balancing screen time in your home.
Disclosure: This is a Screen Time App sponsored post. I was compensated for this pot. All opinions are my own.