Managing Screen Time for Your Kids: 7 Tips and Tricks


Things have changed a lot in the past few decades. Chances are, when you were a kid, how you spent your time was drastically different from how kids today spend their free time.

For starters, technology has advanced so much that we can barely comprehend that people didn’t always use to live like this. It’s not just about the advancement of technology but also about how widespread it has become.

In fact, it has become such a standard part of our lives that people can struggle with managing screen time daily. Especially kids. While you may have watched an hour or two of kids-friendly television every day, today’s kids spend hours staring at their screens daily. Sometimes, a part of that is due to necessity (remote learning and homework), but a massive part of it is video games and numerous apps designed to keep kids engaged.

The key is finding the line between your kid enjoying some free time on their tablet vs turning into a zombie who’s always glued to a screen. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you find the balance.

In the rest of this article, we’ll cover some of the best ways you can start managing screen time for your kids. 

1. Be Realistic

The first step to managing screen time for your kids is to be realistic. If you allowed your kids tablets and computers before, you can’t suddenly ban gadgets and expect them to be okay with it. Screen dependency is a form of addiction and quitting cold turkey won’t work for anyone.

So, start by establishing smaller, more manageable objectives. Discuss these new guidelines with your child if you believe that limiting screen time is best for both of you. If you let older children participate in decision-making, they are more inclined to cooperate. On the other hand, with younger kids, fun ways to engage them in learning about daily limits and other vital activities include colourful images or charts.

2. Be Clear About Repercussions

Setting clear constraints and boundaries is a part of our responsibility as parents. The same holds true with technological restrictions. Thus it is crucial to be explicit and consistent with your child about what will happen if they break these limits. However, setting strict rules is not enough; you also have to enforce them. When your kid breaks a rule, make sure they experience the consequences you’ve discussed.

Whatever rules you set, make sure you’re also following them – leading by example is the best way to teach your kids something.

3. Establish “Technology-Free” Zones

Create areas in your home where all kinds of technology are not allowed. For example, choose the dining room as one area where your family can gather and spend time together without any screens or notifications popping up. Make sure you’re leading by example and following the rules you set. If you don’t respect technology-free zones, neither will your kids.

4. Set Aside Time to Unplug

All family members should set aside time to turn off their gadgets. The two most popular instances are right before dinner or before bed. Set and enforce these rules. Make conversations with your kids and ask them about their favourite part of their day. Use this time to connect as a family and get to know each other better.

An excellent way to enforce this is to avoid putting tv screens in your bedroom or your kids’ bedrooms. This won’t make either of you tempted to break the rules.

5. Never Use Screens To Calm or Distract Children

One day, using screens to calm your kids will start to work against you. Why? Because if we let children use screens to relax, eventually, they won’t be able to calm themselves without one. What happens if you don’t have access to technology or if the circumstances don’t permit its use? Complete anarchy.

For example, when planning a move, it might be easier to hand your kids a tablet and put them in a spot where you can see them while you handle the whole process. While it might feel easy, this is not a good strategy for you or them. For starters, talk openly to your kids about moving and their role in it. They might learn a lot by helping out during the moving day, even though they can’t lift heavy boxes and move furniture.

Inspire your kids to find new, creative hobbies

6. Provide Alternatives

Children who struggle to find enjoyable activities often fall back on video games and TV when they run out of ideas. Sometimes kids should be given a piece of paper and some watercolours or sent to a park to play with a skipping rope, hula hoop, or chin-up bar to challenge themselves. While it shouldn’t be expected of parents to micromanage their children’s time, they can guide them toward more productive pursuits. So, the next time you’re buying your kid a present, consider getting them a creative gift or a toy that sparks their interest rather than a video game that will rot their brain.

7. Make Them Earn It

Screen time should be a reward. You might simply state, “No devices until your chores are done.” This is an excellent technique if you want to get your kids more involved with house chores. It will teach them true values and also help you if you’re swamped at work or just had a new baby and need some time to yourself.

Alternatively, you could get creative and provide screen time in accordance with the completed objectives. For instance, you may use the rule “30 minutes reading a book equals 30 minutes of screen time” if your child needs to practice reading and spend more time immersed in a book. You may match your child’s screen time to their activity time if they need to exercise often.

Instead of focusing only on decreasing screen time, focus on helping your kids use screens to socialize, learn and find inspiration.

Final Thoughts

Not all screen time is harmful. You should focus on managing screen time for your kids, so they don’t turn into zombies. However, you should also consider inspiring them to use their screen time for social interactions and educational purposes. Encourage your children to FaceTime distant family members, make home videos or animations, learn more about topics that interest them, or acquire ideas for hobbies, crafts, or other things to do with their gadgets. Teaching kids how to spend their time on devices productively is the best possible thing you can do for them.