This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OurPact. We aim to provide you with resources to help teach your kids responsible screen time practices. All opinions are our own.
As one born before computers were in every home, and before a cell phone was even an option, it is sometimes hard for me to reconcile how much kids these days are attached to screen time.
And it’s not just because they want to be. But also because schools now require the use of electronic devices. From homework to math quizzes, and science/book reports, it’s all on electronic devices now!
It’s a hard pill for this old fashioned mama to swallow. So when my kids are home I try to keep a balance between old fashioned fun and the life sucking pull of electronics. So let me show you how our kids learn to be responsible with screen time.
Screen Time Boundaries and Responsibilities
Now don’t get me wrong. Electronics can be fun. I totally recognize that! I mean, I’ve been a closet gamer addicted to World of Warcraft for over 7 years. I totally get it!
And they are also helpful and can be educational. We have many apps on our devices that help us with Jade’s special needs, speech delays and such. So yes, they can be very educational and helpful.
But also as one who grew up before we had computers in our home, I also think there needs to be balance. And in a world that pushes electronics so much, that balance and responsibility of screen time use has never been more important than now!
I want my kids to develop their imaginations. I want them to be able to occupy themselves without an electronic screen feeding their every second of consciousness. Kids now-a-days don’t know how to even stand in line without whining “I’m bored, can I play on your phone?”Kids should occupy themselves w/out a screen feeding their every second of consciousnessClick To Tweet
Uhm no. Learn how to be patient and entertain yourself while we wait. It’s a life skill you need to learn.
So I limit screen time.
Ok, so maybe as a fellow parent that is not so shocking. You probably do your best to limit screen time too. But to my kids…you’d think I just told them the world was coming to an end. You’ve probably heard it all before
“That’s not fair”
“But <kid from class> gets to have their own phone without doing chores”
“That’s not fair” (again for good measure because I know you get to hear that about 30 times a day.
To which (and much to my dismay) I open my mouth and my MOM comes out…
“Life’s not fair, get over it”
“<Kid from class> is not my child, therefore Not my responsibility. You are. And I say no”
“Because I said …”
“Again, Life’s Not fair, get over it”
I’m not a heartless mom. Really I’m not. But as a Mom who wants the best for my kids, they need to learn these lessons.
Life Lesson #1 : Life isn’t fair. Nothing you can do about it. So you can deal with it and get over it. Or wallow in self-pity for eternity thinking you are entitled to everything just because you exist. (Seriously, it’s not happening).
Life Lesson #2: I’m the parent, not the best friend. Sometimes I will tick you off. Sometimes you won’t like my decisions. That’s OK. It is my job to teach and rear you to become self-disciplined productive adults that contribute to society.
Life Lesson #3: Electronics are not a God Given Inherent Right. Screen time needs to be limited and used responsibly.Life Lessons: Life's Not fair, I'm Your Parent Not Your Buddy, Electronics are Not a God Given Right!Click To Tweet
So how do I limit Screen Time? It’s not based on minutes or hours. It is based on a simple list of what I call their responsibilities for becoming a well-rounded person.
Responsibilities for Earning Screen Time.
Chores: I require my kids to do chores ( I know, I’m such an evil and wicked Slave Driving Mom) But they need to learn how to work. And not just work, but how to work hard. How to complete the task given them the correct way and not cut corners. Otherwise, they will never make it when they get a “real job”.
In addition, they need to learn how to cook and clean so they can survive on their own when they move out. Sorry, my kids won’t be living with us when they are 35. It’s just not happening. As much as I love them, they will be getting a job and getting their own place.
Reading: I require my kids to do 30 minutes of reading at their reading level every day. Yes, their reading level. Cause leave it to my boys to try to get away with reading Preschool books!
So now they have to read at their reading level or higher for 30 minutes a day. Even through the summer. I don’t care that the school only requires 20 minutes. It’s 30 minutes in my house. This helps them appreciate the written word. How to love reading. And it also dramatically improves their success in school.
Outside/Physical Activity: I require my kids to spend time outside actively playing. We all know that a healthy body offers a healthy mind. Plus it gets energy out, makes them strong and forces them to use their imagination.
Be Creative: I require my kids to be creative. Be it from LEGOS, play dough, drawing, painting, imagination play, doing science experiments. It doesn’t matter what venue they pick. As long as they are creatively playing with their mind.
Once all these have been met then I am more than willing to allow my kids time on electronics.
In fact, I often tell my kids, “The faster you get your chores done, the more time you get to play.” And I mean it.
I don’t mind if they want to spend a few hours playing Mario Brothers co-op, or building in Minecraft, or watching PBS Kids. Just so long as their responsibilities have been met.
I use OurPact to help enforce our screen time responsibilities. We follow the “There is a time and season for everything” motto.
The time and season for Screen Time is after chores, reading, and family needs are completed. Then they are free to play all they want unless they become grumpy and fight. Then screen time goes bye bye.
Why do I need an app to help limit screen time?
Because I’m a busy mom with a little baby. Time gets away from me. I can’t tell you how many times I have told my daughter “Ok you can play on the iPad for 30 minutes” And I go off to feed the baby, help the brothers with their homework and get dinner started. And next thing I know it’s been an hour and a half!
I can’t be the only parent who’s done this right?
Or the other case, when my boys were being extra grumpy and we just couldn’t figure out why in the world they were so mean each and every morning. I mean we send them to bed at 8pm. They get up at 7am. Why are they so crabby?
Oh, because they were sneaking upstairs to get their electronic devices and playing them at 2AM….TWO IN THE FREAKIN’ MORNING!
Oh no, my kids are good kids. They’d never do anything like that. Yeah, you keep telling yourself that…Don’t all kids try to be sneaky and break rules just to see what they can get away with, just because they want to?
Needless to say, they had a good span of grounding from all electronics for that little deviant misbehavior.
So now we have ground rules before screen time is allowed.
- No Electronics after 7pm. It’s time to spend time with family and then bedtime at 8pm.
- No Electronics before chores and homework are complete
- No Electronics before daily reading
- No Electronics before doing something creative and educational (like 30 minutes playing with legos, painting, doing crafts, playing with toys, etc. )
- No Electronics at the table during meals.
- No Electronics before they’ve been physically active for 30 minutes
- No Electronics if you’ve been sassy, grumpy, or rude to Mom or siblings.
- No Electronics if your room is a mess.
- So on and so forth.
To help keep your family on task with these easy Screen Time Responsibilities and Rules you can use our Free Printable!
So that is why I need a FREE app like OurPact to help enforce our screen time limits.
OurPact empowers parents to guide their children through the balanced use of technology. Let me tell you how OurPact has helped our family.
As I said it is a FREE app! Nothing beats free right? So no reason not to download OurPact and give it a try. It’s Free! Nothing to lose.
And it is so simple to set up. Seriously almost the same amount of time as it takes to pair a new Bluetooth device!
You download it to one device. The Parents device. Set up a simple account with login and password. Then you pair it with your child’s device.
I have paired it with the iPad that miss Jade likes to play on. Also, our old iPhone 4’s that we let the boys use on Wi-Fi to play games or access the web for homework.
It is available for iOS and Android. And they also just released the Desktop function! Yes, you can now access your OurPact account via desktop. Now you truly can control the devices from any of your own screens be it Desktop, Android or iOS!
Once the device is paired, simply set up the child’s schedule of when they are not allowed access to the device. Such as during the night when they need to be sleeping. During meal times, or when they are supposed to be doing homework or at school.
Then it will automatically block internet and apps across the board during those times.
Things you can do with OurPact:
- Schedule Internet and App use according to your child’s daily routine, and among the weekdays or weekend.
- Set the number of hours your children spend on the Internet and within Apps.
- Block Internet and Apps at a touch.
- Allow Website and App access, whenever you feel your child “needs more time”, at a touch.
- Block all apps (eg. Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), as you see fit.
If your child is behaving and you want to extend their playing time, it is simple to just log in and add additional time to their playing.
Or if they misbehave such as fighting with each other, you again can easily go in and instantly block access right that moment to cut them off.
No need to yell, threaten, or fight to take away the device. Just simply log in and push the block button.
And when they apologize and behave again, simply push the access granted button and they are free to play again!
Truly it is marvelous! It really helps my boys realize that Mom is serious when she says “This is your only warning, you fight anymore and your games are over!”
And it helps Miss Jade realize that she can’t spend all day long on the iPad just because it’s educational, but that she needs to do other activities. For her and her communication delays, it is hard because she struggles to understand when Mom says time is up.
But when the device just stops working, it is easier for her to walk away from it to do something else. Much less struggle to get her to understand that it is time to move to another activity.
Transitions from screen time to meal time or Screen time to family time have been such a breeze lately!
- Open to USA and Canada
- Must be 18+ years old to enter
- Ends June 10, 2016
- Giveaway fulfilled by our sponsor OurPact – Busy Creating Memories is not held liable for giveaway rewarding.
How do you teach responsible Screen Time?
Do you set time limits or require tasks to be completed before screen time?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OurPact.