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Screen time

Screen time

We try to keep our kids to about an hour of screen time a day. You can find various more or less professional estimates about how much time children of different ages should spend on screens, but an hour always seems like a good number to us.

Recently, however, we've noticed that the kids always seem to have some excuse to be watching one screen or another, especially the older two. They're doing homework. They're listening to music.  They're learning a dance. They're practicing guitar. They're researching decks for their collectible card games. Then they want their regular television and video game time on top of all that. It was becoming a constant fight.

So, for the past week we've gone to zero recreational screen time on weekdays. We still watch our family movie on Friday nights, and we still use the screen to do legitimate things like homework and so forth, but recreational screen time is for weekends only.

The experiment has only lasted a few days, so my data set is still very small, but I was shocked at how quickly the kids adjusted. Maybe the nice weather has something to do with it, or maybe it's a temporary thing, but after some initial complaining, they hardly seemed to notice the lack of screen time.

They've been outside scootering. They've been playing air hockey and board games. They've been helping me in the garden. They've been laying on the roof of the tree-fort reading graphic novels. In short, they've been adjusting for more easily than I thought.

I expected all sorts of resistance. I expected withdrawal. I expected bad behaviour. I never expected that removing screen time altogether would be easier than regulating it in small doses.

I make no guarantees, of course, because few things are less guaranteed than parenting strategies, but if screen time is getting out of control in your house, you might want to try just cutting it out entirely.  You may be surprised at how easy it is.