Is Screen Time An Issue In Your Household?

Soooo…. I always planned to be one of those parents who baked cookies, played dress-ups, cooked home-made playdough whilst creating Princess Castles out of empty toilet rolls.

But, Master 6 had different ideas.

He discovered Television & Computer Games!

From the age of probably 2, our gorgeous Master 6 would love nothing more than playing with the iPhone, iPad, Laptop,
watching movies and most of all playing “real” computer games on Daddy’s computer.

At 3, we thought it was cute, clever & oh so modern but now at 6, he is, dare I say obsessed?

So I thought I’d share a couple of options we’ve tried & finally we think we’ve hit the nail on the head for our little “gamer”.

1) The Reward Chart

Setting up a reward chart with time slots allocated, meant that every time he did a chore or good deed he earned a time slot.
This, whilst good in theory did not work as

a) he was only 3

b) we found lots of additional stickers on the chart

c) timeslots of 15 minutes are rendered useless when an episode can be anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes long, and a game even harder to monitor.

The other issue we discovered, was we monitored computer gaming but didn’t place any time restraints on phone playing or television watching.
Resulting in a continual jump from one screen to another.

2) The Weekend Only

Option number 2 for us, was banning all computer games during the week. Again we thought we were oh so clever, wrong.
Television was still be watched morning and night. Phones were being sneaked out of handbags and games were being played on them.
But worse than this, Master (then) 5 refused to play outside, have friends over or even leave the house on weekends as this was his “Game Time”.
I hate to use the words Epic Fail but this really was. but it does lead us to option 3.

3) 2 Hours Per Day of Screen Time
Yes we have loosened the reigns a little and now allow computer games during the week but before you think 2 Hours, What???
Let me break it down for you, as now that he is 6 & more capable of understanding rules we have set pretty strict guidelines with this.
Namely, that Screen Time relates to – Television shows, Movies, Smart phones, Computers, Laptop, WII, Playstation, DS – infact any & all technology which has a “screen”.

What we have found from this is that we have actually cut down his daily intake of screen time, as previously the television would be turned on during dressing time,
breakfast etc. But now he is allocating his time towards games & shows he actually wants to be involved with. Once the time is used it’s time for Reading,
Lego and Boardgames (we have recently rediscovered Mousetrap – I love this game).
Master 6s behaviour has improved as he knows exactly how much time he has & he actually enjoys being in charge of his own options.

Now I don’t for a second believe that this will be our final “perfect” solution as things constantly change but at least for now we are feeling in control,
of the endless quest for watching the Screen!

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