When crafting family guidelines for screen time, it’s crucial to involve every family member. Create rules that are adaptable to school days, weekends, and holidays, while also considering your child’s evolving needs and interests.
Regularly revisit these rules – every few months and when introducing new devices at home. This practice ensures that the rules stay relevant and continue to meet everyone’s requirements.
Setting boundaries around screen time and digital device usage can help your child comprehend your family’s expectations. For younger children, it’s wise to keep the rules straightforward and concise. As your children grow older, consider making these rules part of a formal agreement that you and your child discuss, negotiate, and agree upon.
To guide you in negotiating screen time within your family, here are some useful questions:
- Are you interested in establishing specific screen time hours? How about weekends, holidays, and designated tech-free days?
- When is it appropriate for your child to use digital technology? Should it be after completing homework or avoided during mealtimes? Is asking for permission necessary?
- Where can your child use digital devices? Is it allowed in family areas but prohibited in bedrooms?
- How should your child use digital technology? For instance, is it fine for them to play educational apps or create animations, but not to watch YouTube videos?
Routines play a pivotal role in helping children understand what, when, and how often activities should occur. Integrating screen time and digital device use into your family life becomes smoother with well-established routines that suit your family’s dynamics.
For instance, if you wish to set limits on screen time, incorporate it into your routine. You could decide that TV or tablet usage is only allowed between 5 and 6 pm. Alternatively, your routine might include watching a single program before dinner, tailored to your family’s preferences.
Routines also aid in minimizing conflicts surrounding screen time. For instance, if you prefer your child not to use digital devices in the car, establish a car routine that involves listening to music, family-friendly podcasts, or playing engaging games like ‘I spy’.
Adapted from “Raising Children” the Australian Parenting Website