Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Our Family's Screen Manifesto

I've read some really good Screen posts* recently.  At a critical and sensitive juncture that is adjusting to our School and Fall schedule, I decided our family needed some things in writing regarding Screen Time. We all enjoy our screen time, me included. I have arranged that for M-F, from the hours of 10am- until 6am the next day, our internet shuts off.  I'm not able to connect to wifi except via iPhone. My kids can still play iPad, but that's where this manifesto comes in. Thus, I give you our "Screen Manifesto."  We have had these rules in place since early September, and by the way- it is going really well.

Here is what we've been doing:

For Molly (age 7 1/2)
- No TV on school nights
- Special Movie on Friday nights with popcorn and pizza, and her choice of candy, and/or ice-cream for dessert. ;)
- 30 min. iPad or computer games on school days, if all of her homework is completed

Right now, I bring a snack and drink for her to enjoy on the way home from school.  If I forget, it's usually a frosty or a muffin from drive-thru, or a snack from the gas station pit stop.  I know she could wait, but it's a tradition now, and then we don't worry about snack when we get home.  She has to sit down right away and show me what her homework is for the day.  It's habit. She usually does her homework right away so that she can earn iPad time.

For Frances and Madeleine (3 & 4 1/2)
-30 minutes screen time in the morning (this gives me a chance to take a shower or get some chores done)
-30 min. iPad during rest time if desired, IF their chores are completed

Anders (2)
-30 minutes screen time in the morning

Baby Annabel
- None  ;-)~

Explanation: Anders naps, and the girls sometimes get restless and frankly, I need a nap. Giving them an iPad to play games for 30 minutes won’t hurt them!

Shenanigans: Now I know that this screen problem is somewhat unique to our day and age. Never before have screens been so abundant, with iPads, iPhones, TV, and the internet, all vying for our attention.

As always, this is not “set in stone.”  We haven't followed it perfectly. If we have a hard day, I reserve the right to put on a whole movie at a random time.

part 2: Sometimes the kids watch 45 minutes in the morning. If so, I will take away their iPad time in the afternoon and do something constructive with them instead.

If the kids want to balk or challenge the system or the rules, we can discuss it at a family meeting but not “right now.”

The screen should be the ultimate collateral, because it can be too powerful and end up being unhealthy.  I also reserve the right to use snacks, treats, or a trip to the dollar store as incentives and/or leverage for good behavior.  ;)

for further reading:
Kelly has one with a contract (!!!!) and it is so good:

A Screen Time Contract; For When You Really Mean Business

Here is a good one at Catholic Sistas, written by Martina Kreitzer that addresses the issue a little bit further down the parenting road:

Confessions of the Original Online Junkie: One Does Not Simply Let Teens Play on the Internet

adding my link to Jenna's 5 Favorites

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