Thursday, February 13, 2014

Question: How much screen time should kids have?

I was recently asked this question:

Question: We just got an iPad and my kids think they need to play on it... Do you guys allow your kids to use technology?

Here is my answer:

We live in an ieverything world.


With all the amazing technology we try to make sure we have balance.  We want to remember how to live life without focusing on a screen.  

I have often told our children:
"When you grow up and you talk about your great memories of home, you won't say that you have such fond memories of playing on the ipad and watching TV together.  You will remember the forts that you built with couch cushions, the silly plays you acted out, and fun things that you made."  

I really believe that life is meant to be lived, not just watched on a screen.  

That said, we use technology a lot in our home, we just have a few simple rules that we try to follow.

The oldest kids usually have homework on the computer after school.  They take turns with the ipad and the computer to complete their homework.  

The oldest kids usually are pretty busy on weekdays with homework, piano, soccer, and church activities.  If they have time and they have to complete the following before asking for screen time:
Read their personal scriptures
Do their reading
Do their chores
Have their homework done (if it is a school night)

The 3 and 5 year old that are home durning the day have more time so they have to have their scriptures read (we read as a family in the morning or I read to them) and they have to do a worksheet or their reading (I use "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons) before they can watch TV or use the ipad.  

They can use screen time for about 1/2 hour before they have to do an active activity.  The exception is on Mondays, I do a lot of my cleaning and they get more screen time on that day.  

Our 5 year old claims that since our baby was born in September, I let them have a lot more screen time and even ask them to watch a movie sometimes! :)  Technology can be a blessing because it keeps them busy when I am taking care of the baby :)  

We really live in a different world now with so much technology at our fingertips.  Technology has changed so much over the past 10 years.  When our oldest two children were small we didn't have much access to any technology and they were so creative and played together so well, they never expected to be entertained.  I try to teach our other children how much fun it is to play together and not just expect that constant entertainment from a screen!

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