Screen time limits and how to tell your kids they need them

Screen time limits can be tricky, so how do you know if they are really needed?  Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Are they on are their device more than they are not?
  • Do they seem irritable when you ask them to take a break?
  • Are they getting frustrated easily when their screen is not working properly?
  • Do they control the screen device, or does it seem to control them?

When we were kids, we would come up with all sorts of games to play to pass the time in the car.  The license plate game, I spy, I’m going on a camping trip and bringing… item starts with letters in name.  But it seems as though times may have been simpler back in the day.  Fast forward a decade or two, and now it just feels natural to hand your child a device. Games and apps seem to hold their attention longer than a kid making a decision at the dollar store.  I think most parents would agree that once you’ve given in to that natural impulse, it seems impossible to take it back. No matter the age, it can be frustrating when you don’t know where to start setting screen time limits.

how to know when to limit screen time

Setting limits…It’s not too late to start

One of the best things about kids is their resilience for bouncing back quick.  We’ve all seen kids go from being happy, to angry, and back to happy again faster than a Tesla can reach 75mph.  When you are first deciding how to approach limiting your child or teens screen time, tread carefully. 

Helpful tips on how to let your kids/teens know it’s time to set some limits

  • Before talking to your child, choose a time when they feel calm, so they don’t feel like they are being punished.
  • Take an approach that comes across as friendly rather than accusatory
  • Be quick to recognize how important technology can be when we use it wisely. Kids of all ages like to feel like they are part of something important.
  • Make sure you are calm as well, so as to not get defensive if they do try to push back.
  • Rules and expectations may go over better if they are for all children in the house.  It is far easier to set these limits before they become issues, but that is often not the case.
  • Be open to the idea that you could also set limits for yourself even if they look different.  Children are likely to questions rules and limits that parents don’t try and follow as well.   

Check out some more great pointers on examining your own screen time habits:

Screen device irritation syndrome? (and it’s not just the kids)

As a parent, I know I have been found guilty of scrolling through the dark hole of endless videos.  The moment when your child is trying to get your attention is when you find yourself snapping at them for no reason.   Learn to recognize the screen time monster. 

device irritability monster
If your child, teen or self has turned into that irritable monster type personality, it’s a good time to start setting those screen time limits.

If there are days you start noticing that your child/teen has been on their screen for longer than we should admit out loud, you’re probably not alone. Pay close attention to the way they start to behave after extended screen time moments.

Once you have made the choice to enforce screen time limits, you are helping your child learn self discipline. As with anything, consistency is key, and will likely become a good habit. The ideas are endless for how to set these limits: screen time chore checklist, screen rewards, device settings or even a temporary screen freeze. Screen time limits can and will look different for different circumstances.  The best thing about parenting, is we are in charge of the rules for our own household, and we know our kids better than anyone else.  Through trial and error we get to choose what those screen time limits may or may not look like.  There are many resources out there that can help give recommendations of hours per ages for specific limitations, but it is also a great time to teach our children  to recognize how to know for ourselves when it’s time to take a break. If you are looking for ideas for activities to do with your child when they are not using their screens, be sure to check out Time for us Journals!

For more great ideas and helpful parenting hints be sure to follow me on instagram

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    MyMommyStyle Meet Camille

    Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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    Embrace the Mom You AreMy Mommy Style

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    Embrace the Mom You AreMy Mommy Style


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