5 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Screen Time

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Did you know that many American children spend 50 hours PER WEEK in front of screens? That’s more hours per week than many people work – and the scariest part of that number is that it is OUTSIDE of school. That’s got to be one of the worst statistics I’ve heard in a long time! What are we doing to our children? Do we really think it’s ok for them to be glued to screens all the time? I’m pretty convinced it’s not a good thing at all.
5 Ways to Reduce Kids' Screen Time - Ourpact - Parental Control App from ParentsWareScreen time causes so much stress at my house. I fight with my kids almost every single day over this topic. Some days, it’s enough to drive me batty. Most days, actually. I think it’s worse right now because the weather’s been pretty crappy and we’re stuck inside a lot. But still. There are other things to do inside besides play on screens. While I sure hope my kids aren’t spending 50 hours per week glued to screens, getting a handle on screen time would really calm my house down most days!

5 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Screen Time

5 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Screen Time Ourpact - Parental Control App from ParentsWare2

1. Set Rules. And. Enforce. Them.

I’m just going to put this out there. I suck at enforcing rules. Years ago when training dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind, I was taught that I should never give a dog a command that I couldn’t enforce. I was actually pretty good at that with my dogs. But the dogs didn’t talk back, or develop reason and try to wheedle their way out of orders. My kids have a pretty good command of reason and they find very clever ways to get out of most things I ask them to do. While setting rules and enforcing them hopefully works really well for you, it doesn’t work that great for me. But it’s a pretty important first step to gaining control of screen time so I have got to do better.

5 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Screen Time Ourpact - Parental Control App from ParentsWare3

2. Make a dedicated area for all devices to dock and stay when not in use.

This is one change we made this winter that I am pretty happy with. We set up a docking station for all of the products – in an reclaimed letter organizer that sat on my desk for years, just full of clutter. I like it because it’s one central location for all devices. If my kids aren’t supposed to be having screen time, I can glance very quickly at that docking station and see who’s not following my rules.

3. Allow kids to earn extra screen time by doing chores.

This is a new idea I have, and one that I have not yet implemented. The first punishment my kids get when they’re being bad is to lose screen time. I have mulled around also letting them earn some of that time back by doing extra chores, but I have not started it yet. I think it would be a great way to get a clean toilet every now and again. And it would be fun to see just what lengths my kids would go to to get their screens back! Lol.

4. Be a good role model.

So. Ouch. Right?! You want your kids to stay off their iProducts but you’ve always got your own out and ready? Yup. Meet Pot. That’s me. I’m toally calling the kettle black on this one. If kids didn’t see their parents on their phones or other devices so much, maybe they would also not have the desire to be on theirs all the time. Conversely, if I spent more time playing and reading books to my children – they wouldn’t be on their devices either. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

OurPact App Review - 5 Ways to Reduce Kids' Screentime

5. Use the Ourpact – Parental Control App from ParentsWare.

The other four ideas I presented above are great, but here’s a different type of help from an app that will control the way your children use their IOS products (iPhone, iPad, iPod). This simple to use app allows you to:

5 Ways to Reduce Kids' Screen Time - our pact iphones

● Schedule Internet and App use according to your child’s daily routine, and among the weekdays or weekend.

● Set the number of hours your children spend on the Internet and within Apps.

● Block Internet and Apps.

● Allow Website and App access, whenever you feel your child “needs more time.”

● Block all apps (eg. Facebook, SnapChat, Intagram, Twitter, etc.), as you see fit.

Ourpact is easy to download and install. It’s also FREE! The bummer is like everything, you’ve just got to make the time to set it up to work for you. Simply installing it on your iPhone isn’t going to solve any problems, right? I sure wish it also worked on Kindles – because we have those too, but the developers are also working on an Android version so that’s great news.

I am excited to use Ourpact with my kids. Having definite times they are allowed on screens will help them focus better during other times. I have noticed that my kids play outside quite happily when they are forced. If given the option of being on screens, though, Clash of Clans and My Little Pony sadly wins out most days right now. When they’re finally resigned to the fact that they can’t access screens, I am amazed at the creativity that flows {although it’s usually quite messy}! I also love that Ourpact can block social media apps if you set it up that way. Seriously – my oldest child is not even 11 yet, and we’ve been arguing over social media for a while now. This is a sure-fire way for me to make sure all the kids stay off things they have no business being on. And once it’s set up, I don’t even have to monitor it that often or turn it on and off. It just works. And that makes this mama happy.

By the way, Screen Free Week is coming up the first week in May and I am pledging to go screen free with my kids then! I won’t be completely screen free because I work online, but I plan to schedule all my online work early in the morning or late at night, AND I plan to leave my cell iPhone on the charger. Who’s with me?

Tell me, how do you take charge of your children’s screen time? How do you protect them while they are online? Click on over to Ourpact and tell me what you think!

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Comments

  1. Hi Michelle, Thanks so much for a great post, I really like the fact that you are willing to admit that you are certainly not perfect in the parenting world and that you are failing at alot of these tips. Its inspirational to know that I am not alone, in not being the perfect parent. Thanks again, Joy
    • Joy - I am in no way, shape, or form, the perfect parent. In fact, I think the idea of a perfect parent is a myth! At least I hope. :-) That sounds like a blog post... Thanks so much for the comment and keep doing what you're doing. I'm sure you're a great parent. <3
  2. I agree, screen time is an issue for many smart parents. I decided to do something about it and created the Game Nanny Box. Now on Kickstarter, a new parenting tool to simplify screen time. Let me know what you think - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/71580952/game-nanny-box-nannying-screen-time-so-you-dont-ha

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