Computer screens, cell phone screens, television screens, and tablet screens are now a part of every day life that we can’t avoid. Problems arise because what we are looking at is so enticing that children, and ourselves, often have a hard time limiting their usage.
You may notice some behaviors in your children that cause you concern about their screen time usage.
- Aren’t outdoors enough.
- Insist that they need more screen time.
- Hard time transitioning from screens to being social.
- Whiny and angry when told to stop.
- Seclude themselves from family and friends
- Unable to think of other activities to do.
Why aren’t the limits you’ve set so far working very well?
Why is there mostly conflict rather than cooperation when it’s time to stop?
- Too much collaborating discussions to determine the rules.
- Unrealistic expectations of child cooperating without complaint
- Set up of rules and expectations are fuzzy.
- Follow-through is weak.
- Anger and punishment are used as a last resort.
So, how can you set limits that will be respectfully followed?
4 Steps for Effective Screen Time Limit Setting
1. Start by using the Ally Parenitng Director Parenting Role where YOU:
- Decide on the limits
- Are respectful – no shaming or blaming
- Stay non-emotional
- Don’t argue or discuss
- Focus on keeping your relationship intact.
2. Make Sure to Set Clear Expectations
- Time limits are known, written down and posted.
- Expected behavior during turn-in time is clearly explained.
- Results of arguing is made clear and ALWAYS ENFORCED.
- Time flexibility is only within the parameters you set.
- Reminders are limited to what you are willing to do.
- Make it clear how much discussion is allowed. (Keep in mind if you are teaching them that “discussing” the rules is okay at any time.)
3. Once the Rules are Clearly Set – Have Effective Follow Through
- Remain calm
- Know and state your clear rules once
- Don’t give in. Kids will often use one ‘giving in” for a future reason for you to “give in.”
4. Don’t Shame or Blame. Instead Use Helpful respectful phrases that come from your inner strength and respect for yourself and your children.
- ” It’s time to….”
- “Since you didn’t stop without arguing then …..”
- “You can try again ….”
- “I’m not discussing it.”
Parents everywhere are struggling with the constant challenge of setting effective time limits on screen usage. This article gives you an outline of how you can transform arguing about screen time usage to a respectful approach where you are the boss and know how to use an Ally , soft power, approach to get the harmony you crave.