Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Learning Together - Screen Time

Hello mamas (and papas?),

It's been a while since I've shared one of these posts. Recently I've been thinking about our screen time policy. For those who don't know me personally I'm very strict about screen time. We had a fairly strong 'no screens before 2' kind of thing and after that very limited screen time. I know we fall well outside the 'norm' when it comes to access and time on screens and we are happy with our family approach.

Like any family we have considered reasons around how and why we decide on how much time is spent looking at a screen and I'm sharing our system in the hope it might work for other families even if they have different amounts of time allowances/access.

I do have one son in particular who loves technology and I tend to have a default no setting generally but I want the boys to have some access and I also want to teach them about managing their own timetables as they get older. (They are currently 6.5 and 9).

So we have decided to use a voucher system. The boys will both get a collection of 10 minute tickets weekly. They will then have autonomy, within reason, about how they use these over the course of a week. This will include all screens - Wii time, iPad, Computer and TV/DVD.

There will be some exceptions if we decide to watch a family movie that won't count, weekly family check-in on the Wii doesn't count either. At least 20 minutes have to be spent on an educational thing like study ladder or maths games etc.

The boys are so excited about the new system and it has a number of benefits for us:

  • no nagging - the boys don't have to ask and hope every day that maybe I will say yes
  • time management - how will you spend your time, how does it feel when you use it all up on one day? do you like a little every day? 
  • motivation - if jobs are done quickly there may be time for some screen
  • responsibility - they will need to be responsible for using the vouchers and telling me
  • time concepts - especially for the little one how much is 10 minutes, how many minutes in an hour etc
  • sharing - we will allow them to pool time to use technology together for some things, if they want to
  • anticipation - for my oldest especially knowing he will get some screen time and being able to look forward to it and anticipate it will make him feel very happy
  • clear boundaries - I find this takes stress out of things - we all know what the rules are and we all feel happy because everyone is getting what they want

I know this isn't a learning/homework thing but I hope it gives some ideas and I know there are skills that the boys will get out of this. 

In terms of management I am going to print and laminate the tickets and they will get given them each week at pocket money time. As they spend them they will go into a box - unused ones will go on a magnetic clip on the fridge. At the end of the week empty and repeat! 

Learning Together a series for primary aged children and their parents - activities that break up homework monotony, promote skills and create positive experiences together.

How do you manage screen time in your house?

love you more than laminated tickets xxx