Being a parent in 2019 involves a whole host of new challenges, especially when we talk about rules on the use of electronic devices.
According to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics , the time that children spend in front of the screen should be limited to one hour a day, to be devoted to “quality programs” for children aged 2 to 5 years; in addition, “coherent limits” should be placed on the time to spend in front of the screen and on the types of media used for children aged six years and over. But how can all this be put into practice?
We asked parents from the Facebook community “HuffPost Parents” to share the rules that worked in their family with us.
Although each family is different, and it is up to individual parents to determine what is best for their children, here are some approaches that have proven successful for others:
- Timers and set times
“We always set a countdown timer -” another five minutes “,” another three minutes “. It helps our child to reduce the anxiety of being taken away by something that involves him. We also set limitations within the various devices, choosing only childproof app that can be accessed “- Kirsten Britain
“We use the kitchen timer, so when it rings she knows it’s time to unplug it” – Rachelle Lowers.
“The kids set the stopwatch on the iPad, and when the time has run out (20 minutes on weekdays, one hour on the weekend) … Well, it’s expired.” – Rinna Tablante
“In our family, the time to devote to electronic devices is scheduled and basically limited to TV. We have an old Kindle Fire with a few games and a Leapster, but we rarely use them. The TV only after lunch and after dinner – about half an hour after lunch and the time of a movie (an hour and a half) after dinner. ” – Katie Kilsdonk.
- Far from the eyes, far from the heart.
“With us, the TV is in the basement room: away from the eyes, away from the heart. It is allowed only on weekends and only for about an hour. There are many other ways to have fun. To be honest, I think young children they watch too much TV. We don’t even allow the use of iPads and laptops. My children are six and eight years old “- Amanda McAllister.
“My youngest children do not have technological equipment, apart from accessing a TV in the playroom. I would never entrust them with tablets or computers all for them. Especially because they tend to break things” – Robyn Bourgoin.
“Hide all the tablets. Tell the kids to go for a bike ride.” – Danielle Bartran.
- A reward to deserve.
“Watching TV is a reward for getting ready in time to go to school while, once at home, it is a way to make them relax a bit before starting homework or doing workouts. The children’s Kindle is a very useful resource because you can make them read books and then reward them with the game (and you can set them to turn off automatically after a certain period of time). ” – Kim O’Connor Crance.
“We have a household chores chart to buy more time – 5 minutes for making the bed, three for taking out the trash, five for laundry, etc. If you don’t get this time, no TV or other devices. And, in any case, only after doing your homework. ” – Megan Spiller.
“We have a system for which TV” deserves “itself by reading. It is the second grade, it is still learning to read, and this is the priority” – Elyssa Katherine Bisset.
“They must complete three basic tasks before turning on the screens: homework, tutorials with musical instruments and laundry. I bought a series of digital timers on Amazon that children can easily set and pause on their own (to go in the bathroom or for dinner, etc.). I tend to be more forgiving on weekends or holidays, but it’s a good way to keep in control during normal school days. ” – Carrie Kindt
“Our daughter doesn’t have a tablet, and she won’t have one for quite a while. Also, we still have the basic cable package, so no Nick Jr. nor Disney Channel. Our daughter has a chance to earn the time to spend in front of the screen (mostly watch educational videos on YouTube) doing well at home and in kindergarten. And if she deserves it even when she gets older, she won’t be granted it – Wendy Pitoniak.
“My son is in middle school; I told him that if he had cast a certain grade, he wouldn’t have had the phone until he improved it. It took only a week for the grades to rise. My husband and I urge him to spend more time at the school. outdoors, and we’ll give him pocket money if he helps with household chores. ” – Yvone Hudson.
“My daughter watches some TV and some films and knows that tablets or phones are reserved for very specific situations. She is not even three years old but if she asks us, receiving no for an answer, we redirect her to another activity. Hoping it continues “- Kerry Marsh Wichowski
“My daughter’s school encourages kids to use TVs and devices, but mostly for educational purposes. During the summer, we use lists with items like:” Read for 30 minutes “,” do something creative for thirty minutes, like playing with plasticine or Lego “,” Playing in the open air for thirty minutes. “Usually she gets so absorbed by those activities that she forgets she wanted to play with the tablet.” – Rachelle Lowers.
- Everything turned off before going to bed
“For us, during the week, it was useful to turn off the screens an hour before going to bed (we go to sleep at 8pm). So the game / goodnight program must start by 6.30pm – that is to say all homework, except reading before bedtime, must also be finished by 6:30 pm When my son has an archery lesson or a meeting with the scouts, until 6:30 / 7 pm, generally they are not granted TV and tablets later. Obviously, the weekend is different. ” – Sarah Marie Bliss.
- Limits during the week
“No screens during the week. We dedicate a film together on Friday. We also set limits for the weekend, but often the TV is turned off because we have so much to do together.” – Crystal Barnes.
“On school days my children are not allowed to play video games. However, on weekends, after the housework, they are free to enjoy the day.” – Pamela Januchowski.
“We told our five-year-old son that the pediatrician advised against using TVs and other devices during the week. Now the TV and iPad only turn on on Saturdays and Sundays.” – Jennifer Kellogg.
“During the week no tablet, while the computer is allowed only for homework. During the week not even TV is allowed. We read together, play together or with friends always without screens. At the beginning it was hard, but then the our kids got used to it. ” – Sarah Salisott
“No internet or video games during the week, period. The only grant is reserved for homework searches. He doesn’t have access to messaging apps or his own number. He can play video games on the weekend after helping out at home, and only if he behaves well with everyone. He is a twelve year old boy, he is not really enthusiastic about these rules. But his father and I make a common front, so in the end our son stopped protesting. The only advice is: Di NO, and say it with conviction. ” – Gina Elliott Proulx
“For the duration of the school year, we do not allow our youngest children to use devices from Monday to Friday. The older one handles herself very well and uses them for homework, etc. We do some checks but we didn’t think it necessary to take them away during the week “- Give us Lewis.
“Our goal is: no tablets or games on the phone during the week. We give them some TV because it is easy to” unplug “them. During the weekend, they can use the tablet occasionally throughout the day. But we set the timer to 15 minutes, so they won’t use it for too long “- Eileen Conlon Blanco
- Only when traveling
“We only use the tablet in the car and while traveling. Because of my daily commute home / work / kindergarten, my son spends a lot of time with the tablet; therefore, once at home, we run and play – Hollis Evans.
“We stopped overnight. I am well disposed towards the evenings to devote to a movie or a program before going to bed, but tablets and iPads are banned unless a very long flight awaits us. Now children play and read – Regan McDonald
“Audiobooks are a great alternative. About three years ago we said enough on TV. For the first two weeks it was difficult, but then we started listening to audiobooks and podcasts together that facilitated the change. Now, on the iPad they have access only Epic and Audible, and children can listen to audio books with headphones whenever they want. On Friday and Saturday nights, however, we watch a movie together. ” – Oz Douglas.
“Find activities to do together. Go for a walk, ride a bike, do board games, read, do the laundry with your children,” – Kathie Hilliard.
“Our board games are always at hand. We are a family that loves board games a lot and this allows us to meet, have fun and learn together without using devices – Bri Lutz
“It is very useful to switch games with young children. When they have all the toys on hand, they tend to get bored more easily.
- Go outdoors
“If it’s good weather outside, it’s not raining and it’s not too cold, then go out! Without if and without but. I spent all my childhood playing in the open air, I want to make my children live the same experience. They watch cartoons rarely during the week, and I have not yet replaced the damaged battery of our iPad; therefore, cartoons aside, no screens. It works for us, but we have a large garden and my children are still very young. I am lucky to have the opportunity to encourage them to go out without phones to fight on. Choose the best strategy for your family! ”
“If it’s a beautiful day and the kids want to stay home, I’ll give them chores! It works wonderfully. They spend more time outdoors and devices aren’t allowed!” – Carrie N Mike Lehman.
- Educational purpose
“My seven year old son doesn’t know the iPad password. We encouraged him to use educational apps he can play with (like DuoLingo, he’s learning Spanish), before using the device to do what he wants (always with the control options active) We also set a kitchen timer to track the time spent in front of the screen – Erika Chaney.
- Parental Control
“Using the Google Family Link app, we set a timer to one hour a day; after the time has elapsed, the screen turns off. An adult must approve all the apps before downloading them, and there is always a timer that tells us exactly how long they have been used. If they spend too much time on Youtube, and don’t devote enough to learning games, we eliminate YouTube “- Krystal Kilpatric
“We use the Google Family Link app and we set parental controls on all their devices (except the computers they use at school), so we can turn off their phones when necessary and tell them to put the pc in their backpack before going to bed “- Patrice Caraway
“In the summer, I use the Our Pact app” – Darci Lewis.
“We have an app called ESET Parental Control and our router offers settings that allow us to set the on and off times of each device” – Patty Johnson Dobrowski
“We finally figured out how to disable autoplay on Netflix and Amazon!” – Sarah Seiglie
“We keep an eye on the apps they use. We have banned YouTube. I also have an autistic child, so I can’t deny him the devices entirely because, sometimes, he uses them to communicate. He has learned to use them as a way to calm down, and now he barely uses them “- Jessica Cozza
- To punish them.
“My seven-year-old son can use electronic devices as much as he likes, as long as he behaves well and does his duty. Otherwise, I take them away as a form of punishment.” – John Ayers.
- Balance and flexibility
“There is no fixed rule. For us, balance and flexibility work. Sometimes they can use the tablet, other times we say no and propose an alternative activity. Every now and then we watch a movie all together, like tonight, or we dedicate ourselves to games In this way, they enjoy the time spent in front of the screen but have even more fun with activities that involve the whole family “- Amanda Kirkland.