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Screen Time: Do you have a plan?

Posted by Lauren Bourne on Dec 18, 2018 9:55:00 AM

tips for managing children's screen time

The world is changing, and technology is changing even faster. The choices we have can feel overwhelming! What devices do we allow and when? How much time is excessive? Are we letting the kids be kids? And then the enemy whispers lies of comparison. Why don’t we do that? Their kids seem smarter, more mature, yada-yada. What are we doing wrong? Am I ruining my children? And don’t get me started about parental controls and keeping them safe! The choices and the questions go on and on.

My simple question to you is: Have you asked God what He says about technology and your family?

Because once we know what He says, all those questions fade away.

As I was thinking about all the choices we have as parents and all the lies the enemy tries to whisper about our choices, the Lord put a scripture so heavy on my heart. 1 Cor 14:33 ESV simply and profoundly says, “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.” God will give you a game plan for success with your family that brings peace into your home, even regarding technology boundaries. His plan won’t bring confusion or chaos, and if you keep your eyes fixed on what God told YOU to do, comparison won’t steal your peace or joy either! But that’s another sermon. Back to tech.

There are many opinions when it comes to screen time and kids. Some view screen time as a rare privilege while others don’t limit technology use at all. There are parents who reward with screen time, some who take it away as a consequence, and others who use it frequently as a teaching tool. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, I’m not trying to change your mind or get you to question your parenting (you’re doing a great job!). 

What I AM going to do is provide you some practical tools and ideas as you take this issue before the Lord for your tribe! If one of these ideas tugs at your heart– talk about it together, and ask the Lord if it’s a good fit for your family!

tips for managing technology in  your family

Whether you’re looking for screen time alternatives, need to reel in an out of control habit, or are motivated to create a new game plan, here are 7 ideas for integrating technology in a healthy way:

First Things First: This plan can be as simple or detailed as you choose! You simply let your kids know what must be done BEFORE tech time. If you have 17 chores you want your kids to do before they park themselves in front of the PlayStation, great! Or maybe your style is more like “change your clothes, clean your room, then PlayStation.” Many parents say “chores, active time, and homework first.” But whatever you choose, it’s good to have a plan! Ask the Lord what your priorities should be in this season.

Technology Tickets or Screen Bucks: Calling all crafters and Pinterest moms. (I’ll excuse myself now. I bring store-bought cupcakes.) This works great for some families! For each chore they do or item they check off your list, your kids get tickets or bucks. They can exchange tickets for screen time. I personally don’t have the brain capacity to manage tiny TV tickets for a 3 year old. But, you do your thing, mamma!! A lot of people love this method. If you search on Pinterest, you’ll find many fun printables and plans!

Travel Only: If you travel often, or the kids get restless on road trips, this might just save your sanity. Set aside a few apps, movies, or devices labeled “for travel only” and those things will feel new to the kids every time you hit the road, Jack!

tips for family screen time

Screen-Free Zones: Oh, this! Don’t we ALL need screen-free zones (a-hem, date nights)? The family dinner table is a great place to start. I like to set my phone on the kitchen counter and leave it there (if possible) during family meals. Maybe you’ve mastered this, but my kids KNOW when I’m multi-tasking and when I’m REALLY engaging.

Not #winning in the area of engagement? A fellow CCA family completely hooked us on playing “High Low” with our kids at dinner. We simply go around the table and each share the high and low points of our day. It’s a great way to get everyone talking.

Keep it Simple: Kids get x number of minutes or hours per day (especially in the summer. Lord have mercy and thank you God Almighty for Netflix) or per weekend. If your limit is 1.5 hours and they watched a movie, easy. Times up. No fancy, hand-made, personalized, monogrammed, framed, or bedazzled charts needed here. But if that’s your thing, will you please make me one?

No Limits: Wait. No limits? Questioning if CCA chose the right person to write this article? A-hem. Well, hear me out. There are a couple of apps that I rarely limit at all (again, do what’s right for YOUR fam). If my kids are reading a book or learning about the living and active Word of God, they can sit there all day as far as I’m concerned. Err, I can’t imagine we’d have a full day to sit, but if so– have at it kiddos. Said apps– The Bible App, Reading A-Z, ABC Mouse, Superbook.

I’m Bored Jar: This is my life raft during summer and winter breaks and long weekends! If I hear my children say “I’m bored,” they go to the jar, pick a popsicle stick, and then do what it says! After they do the thing… I don’t mind if they watch Peter Rabbit (I could clean to that soundtrack all day)! Get the full scoop and the “why” behind it, HERE!

Take this before the Lord and ask Him to give you a strategy! He will! I want to remind you that He knows the plans He has for your family! Plans to prosper you and give you the future you hope for.

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Topics: Parenting