Hi everyone, Hannah from FeastStyleThrive here! As a mummy blogger, I was thrilled to be given the chance to write a guest post for My Gator Watch as the company shares my view that we need to let kids be kids for as long as possible.
We’ve been working together to look at the theme of reducing screentime. How much is too much? Could we be doing more to help wean them off their devices, or is it no big deal? This is an issue that we all find ourselves facing every day.
So, I’ve teamed up with some of the loveliest parenting bloggers around to bring you some tips and tricks on what you can do to curb screentime. I hope you enjoy them.
OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND
“For myself I find that if the devices aren’t within eye sight he can easily forget they exist. He is limited to an hour a session and no more than 3 times a week. When he was really little this was just once a week. To be honest the games he plays are really educational so I’m not too bothered at this age. It’s when he’s 12 and all his friends are playing an 18+ certificate game that the worry will really begin” Suzy McCullough – Our Bucketlist Lives
“We refer to it as the ’emergency tablet!’ It only comes out when we really need it! We try and limit our use on our phones in front of him too. Plenty more things to occupy everyone’s time with” Gill Maynes Yammy Mommy
“I put devices away when not in use, and get them out for long journeys or that witching hour before bath time. We now have two Leap Starts which are interactive books and they are getting much more use; they require the child to listen to the instructions and I much prefer them to the tablet. My children are 3 and almost 5” Frances Taylor Whinge Whinge Wine
“I have to keep a close eye on the time my son is on his device as he can waste so much time on it. When he was younger it was fine and I couldn’t understand why I kept seeing questions about screen time but now I completely get it. They become so engrossed that you don’t notice that an hour or more has suddenly passed! We have chill out time with it for a bit after school but then it is put away so we can talk, look at homework and have dinner. I have found that popping it in a cupboard helps, it’s the whole out of sight out of mind mentality” Emma Reed
“We keep ours up high in a kitchen cupboard so the children don’t have free access to them. We can choose when they play on them whether it’s for a reward, to occupy on a long journey or just to play for a while. They usually have some screen time on their iPad once every 1-2 days, but if they misbehave then we use it as a punishment that they will not get to play on the iPad that day” Victoria Sully Lylia Rose
“I don’t restrict my son’s use but I do ban him when he’s naughty from all electronics and if needs be turn the power off to his bedroom to ensure he doesn’t cheat it” Jen Mellor Just Average Jen
“We try to keep to a maximum time limit, but we’re not too strict with it, we just make sure that if time is spent on games or TV, then we also make sure we spend some time outdoors rain, wind or shine” Heidi Piedy Brown
“My children are only allowed a maximum of 1 hour on a tablet each week day. Otherwise they would not do anything else! At the weekend they are allowed longer, but only when they’ve finished homework and any chores. That way, we find they moan far less.” Pete Chatfield Household money saving
“I always show my children on the clock what time they will have to stop playing on the tablet, so that they can see for themselves that their time is up and there are less arguments when I come to turn it off” Kate Mai-Lyn Ever after with kids
DO SOMETHING MORE INTERESTING
“It’s difficult as they get older. My daughter is 10 but has a clear understanding of when she can and can’t use the iPad. Luckily, I’ve found out that she would much rather play a game with me or do something productive as a family than play on the iPad. So I save baking or cooking until she gets home. Or most evenings we play a board game together. Maybe she’s unusual like that but it’s something we look forward to after a long day. She knows she can use the iPad but by distracting her with other things, she isn’t so bothered” Alice Soule Living with a Jude
“We get outside as much as possible. They never ask for them then! At home we put them away, and only get them out as special treats or on car journeys” Kate Elizabeth Redfern Five little stars
“We limit when needed by using kids mode timers but more so we integrate tablet use with other activities (i.e. the forestry app for identifying trees by bark or leaves) when out in park. My aim was showing them it’s more about using devices along with other activities and it helping them. Now they will both play for a bit and then go off and play with other things themselves” Faith Stephenson MeBeGeek
“My children do not own iPads, they know that it’s Mummy’s and Daddy’s and as such they can only have them when we let them. My son gets it almost every day for about an hour after school – he has ASD and it helps him to relax. All YouTube has been removed after listening to finger family for about 6 months when he was younger so now he can play with. Brio app, watch CBeebies Iplayer and play with the CBeebies app – which has lots of educational games. To be honest – I think it’s a lot better than staring at the telly, and I would never withdraw it as he likes it. He earns it (tidies up in the evenings) and I think it is important that they are familiar with using technology from early age. We are geeks” Eva Katona Captain Bobcat
“I do use time limits, but what is most important to me is making sure that the digital content that they access is safe and educational. There are a lot of positive developmental apps and content that aren’t just games where you beat the other player” Christy Bruckner Welsh mum of one
“We’re quite flexible with our 4 year-old and generally try to play games / apps with him on his tablet rather than him sitting on his own. If we can see him getting frustrated with it we try to help him out but if it’s no longer fun or educational then it goes on top of the fridge-freezer and we go out with him or do a puzzle or something arty instead” James Hopes A Life Just Ordinary
“My children are allowed devices for an hour after tea every day providing they have done their jobs. 12 year old tidy playroom, 5 year old clear the table,4 year old sweep the floor” Emily Macdonald Confessions of a slummy mummy
“We have a strict hour only rule in the week and 2 hours on the weekends and in the holidays but that time can only be unlocked by completing certain tasks such as reading a chapter of a book, tidying bedroom etc. Since implementing it I’ve seen such a change in my son’s attitude and behaviour it’s been really positive” Sophie Gillum-Webb Soph Obsessed
“My teenagers don’t get all that many time limits any more, but my youngest is supposed to charge her devices downstairs and not in her room. It’s an important boundary. Also I expect them to get permission from me before they download any new apps. For example I have said no to Snapchat” Janet ET Falcondale Life
“We have an activities poster for the weekends and they have to do something from each section before they can ask for an electronic device so we do: imaginative play, educational, outside and arts and crafts. This limits time without them even noticing” Kirsty Lloyd Hall Navigating baby
SHOULD WE LIMIT IT?
“We don’t limit! Not at all. It’s resulted in them not having an addiction at all and can actually go days without picking up a device. It’s like dieting and straight away wanting to eat chocolate” Hayley Balozi – I am River
“I don’t limit…my 2.5 year old has always been allowed free access to educational content since she was a baby (starting with the baby TV channel). She can go days where she’s glued to the TV or iPad on various games and apps and then just as easily go days where she’s playing with me and her toys and I hear her talking about the things she’s learnt! The only restriction if she gets it taken away as a punishment” Stacy Warrilow
Huge thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who have contributed to this blog. We would love to know your own thoughts on these techniques? Does one in particular stand out for you? Or do you have your own rules in place? Do share your thoughts in the comments below or via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Pages.
Part of growing up is taking on independence, step by step, and My Gator Watch – the wearable mobile phone – makes that happen. It uses GPS, two-way calling, works across multiple networks and has an SOS feature for peace of mind.
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