Screen time is a never ending struggle here. Owen thrives on screen time–he engages with his iPad, pays attention to videos, and really needs the stimulation.
At night, his iPad has allowed me to get at least some sleep. We’ve even installed a TV in the boys’ room, connected just to our Apple TV in case his iPad dies in the middle of the night.
But, the other kids don’t need as much screen time.
Instead of calming them down, the stimulation causes the opposite. They get wired, and definitely need a way to shake their excess energy.
Of course we run into the–it’s not fair, why does Owen get to watch a movie and we don’t. Our standby answer is usually along the lines of life isn’t fair–why do you get to talk and he doesn’t? That usually puts things into perspective.
Still, our kids probably have more screen time than many other families. We all have to do what works for us!
Here are some of our thoughts for handling screen time in our family.
1. No TV/Wii Until After Lunch
During the school year, this keeps the kids accountable for what they HAVE to do before doing what they WANT to do. They’ve accomplished school and chores by lunchtime, and we’re okay with them taking a break.
During the summer, we’re a little more lax 🙂 it’s summer! But they still have things they HAVE to do before it can go on.
2. Weekends Have More Screen Time
On the weekends, we don’t have the lunchtime rule. We’ll often watch a movie as a family in the morning, or play a competitive game of Mario Kart.
3. Each Child Gets 1/2 an Hour of Wii on Their Day
The kids each get the Wii for 1/2 an hour on their day. They’ll often invite a sibling to join them, which is fine with me. I really like to keep close tabs on the video games–so this gives everyone something to look forward to instead of just wanting to play all the time.
4. I Put Educational Games on the iPad
The kids enjoy playing on the iPad with Owen. So I put some educational games on there. If they’re going to be playing, they might as well be learning! 🙂
5. I Accept that Life is Crazy and Some Days We’ll Watch More TV
Life around here is hectic. We never know when Owen will have a massive seizure and need to go to the doctor/hospital, or when a cow will get out.
And when they do, I usually turn on the TV. It’s something that will keep the kids out of trouble while I take care of the crisis.
And I’ve slowly learned to accept this. My kids will watch more TV than others, and that’s okay. We just try to balance it out with other fun, non-screen related activities.