How I Manage Screen Time as a Homeschooling Mama in BusinessJul 08, 2023
If your kids are anything like mine, they love screen time! And if you’re anything like me, you understand why they like it, but you wish they liked other things just as much.
The screen has been both a helpful tool and a point of contention in our home. We use it for homeschooling (apps like Duolingo, Sago Mini, and Procreate to name a few), but the kids also enjoy watching YouTube and playing games like Roblox and Minecraft.
The screen just isn’t something that we can give up completely. We’ve thought about it several times, but at the end of the day, we’ve always decided against it. Why?
- Like I said above, we use certain apps for homeschooling, including our math curriculum and our middle son’s reading curriculum.
- We actually do believe there are benefits to using tech at an early age (my kid can edit a video better than I can!)
- Our personal opinion is that moderation is better than complete elimination – kids (and who am I kidding, adults too) want something more when they can’t have it at all.
- As an entrepreneurial homeschooling family, there are times where we need our kids to go on the screen so we can meet a deadline or take a call. #reallife
I share all of that with you just to give you some background context as to where we stand on screentime. The goal in our house is that we use the screen as the tool that it is and has the potential to be. What we don’t want is for the screen to be all consuming and take the place of real life.
We’ve tried using screen time permission settings, screen free days, and having them earn their screen time for the day. Each of those worked for a short period of time but also required a lot from us – we had to enter passwords, we had to come up with ways to entertain them, and we had to set new parameters every day because circumstances would change (ex. they wouldn’t have schoolwork on a Saturday and).
Our three boys are 9.5, 5.5 and 2 and I’ve finally come up with a method that feels like a win for us!
The Way it Works:
In order to “unlock” screen time for the day, the kids need to complete 30 minutes of each of the 7 other activities. They cannot check two activities off at the same time unless they extend the time to 60 minutes (i.e., they can’t build a skill outside in 30 mins)
I think the reason this has worked so well for us is twofold:
- They don’t have to do the other activities in a specific order (they just need do them all before screentime). This gives them a sense of control and freedom over their day.
- We weren’t specific with what they need to do and instead have left that to them. (They can complete “Use Your Imagination” by playing with Legos, dressing up in costumes, creating an ice cream shop with play-doh, etc.). They don’t feel boxed in and again, they are left in control of how they spend their day.
When we first started using the chart, we set the parameters and gave them some suggestions for activities they could do that would fall under “use your imagination, build a skill, help out and draw.”
So far, this is the method that has worked best and the longest for us! I no longer feel guilty letting them have their screen time because I know that they’ve played outside, used their imaginations, helped out either around the house or one another. They’ve lived a full day before they become screen zombies. I’m kidding, kind of.
These are the categories that work for our family. I do think they do a good job of being broad enough for most activities to fall under at least one of them. Have a child who plays an instrument? That can fall under “Build a skill.” Have a child who likes to cook? They can plan out their next themed menu and check off “Use your Imagination!” The possibilities are endless!
What categories would you add to your chart?
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