A work colleague of mine posted a question on Facebook asking about how other parents handled screen time with their kids. Below was my response. If you’re a parent, how do you handle screen time with your kids?
Most “experts” (and I use that term loosely because there haven’t been many really solid studies on this, so it’s mostly guessing) say 2 hours maximum of screen time per day for kids. So with our five year old, we give him 60 minutes total screen time per weekday, and 90 minutes on weekends. We’ll scale that up as he gets older. We give him little plastic coins (5’s and 10’s) for time counting that go into a little tray so we can also teach him basic math while we’re at it. He decides how he wants to spend his time between iPad, TV, computer, and Xbox. We try to encourage him to use no more than 30 minutes at once, taking a break in between. No screen time before school, ever.
For the most part, this system works out quite well – he rarely uses all his screen time on weekdays. He understands the limits and rarely complains about them. We’ve had the occasional case of him becoming a little obsessed with a game (Tiny Thief and Minecraft on the iPad so far), but by having the preset time limits in place, the answer is always the same: “You can play it tomorrow”.
For me, what makes this work is defined limits that the kids know about and agree to. Without that, you have “it’s whatever mom and dad say”, which creates uncertainty in your kids. They adapt to that by whining/screaming more if they feel the whim of mom and dad doesn’t go their way. Same thing goes for allowance and buying things at stores – pre-defined solutions (allowance) encourage your kids to think about how they should use the resources they have. I’ll write more about this in a future blog post and it’s something I find very interesting!
Zero screen time for our toddler until she’s two, then we’ll give her a little bit of time with the iPad.
Hi everyone! I need your help to win an unboxing contest that Best Buy is running on Facebook, and it’s for a good cause. Since I do a lot of those, I thought hey, why not enter? There are two grand prizes of $2500 CAD each, awarded as Best Buy gift cards. Since we’re coming up on Christmas, sharing the grand prize if I win makes sense – so I’ve publicly committed to donating half of the prize ($1250) to kids involved with Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Calgary And Area. My mother works for that organization, and I’ve seen first hand the needs that some of these families have. She works with the in-school mentoring program, which pairs younger kids with senior citizen mentors. Apparently the kids are Nintendo Wii-crazy, and it’s an activity the seniors and kids can do together, so I think what I’ll do is buy as many Nintendo Wii bundles as I can with $1250 (it should be at least five of them).
Here’s how you can help me, and the kids, win – oh, and enter to win a $150 gift card yourself!
Log into Facebook, and visit the Best Buy Unboxing Day Contest Site. Click Allow when the app asks for your permission. I’ve noticed there’s a weird bug with Internet Explorer 8 where it loops the process for almost a minute, so you may want to use Firefox or Chrome if you run into trouble.
Find my Samsung Focus video (it’s currently the newest entry, see above) and click on it, then click on Vote in the window that pops up. You’ll need to fill out a little form; I know, we all hate “paperwork”, but this is how YOU get entered to win the $150 gift card, and you can’t vote without doing this step.
Return to that contest site every day to vote – you can vote once every day up until December 31st.
The winners will be announced January 3rd, 2011, and if I win, I’ll announce it here and provide details and photos of the Wii’s I purchase.
My good friend Nate has launched his Web site for Northridge Photography, so if you’re in the Calgary or surrounding area and are looking for a talented photographer, get in touch with him. His growth as a photographer has been remarkable to watch over the past two years, and he definitely has the eye for photography – I was blown away when I saw his very first wedding photo shoot. He does wedding, children, commercial, travel, and band photography.