If your kids are anything like mine, they like technology. Like, a lot. Like, a whole, whole, whole lot. The summer combination of free time, crazy hot weather, and a more relaxed schedule means that screen time can morph from something they do a little to something they do way more than they should. This summer, things are going to be different. Here’s how I’m addressing the following technology situations that drive me crazy! 

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End Screen Time StrugglesEnd 4 Common Screen Time Struggles

1 – Begging for screen time all day

I don’t want 3 months of my kids begging for technology first thing in the morning. I also don’t want them asking when they can do technology all day, everyday. To curb both of these issues, I’m letting them know, upfront, that passive technology – more about that below – won’t start until the afternoon and only after they’ve taken care of their business and grow activities.

Since it is summer and my kids love doing technology in the morning, I’ve designated Wednesdays as their free day. Besides from the basics like chores and getting ready for the day, they will be allowed to hang out that day and will have access to technology for a few hours in the morning.

2 – Dealing with technology melt-downs or zombie brains when time is up

You know what these look like. Thankfully, my kids are getting older so we seldom have the melt downs but the shift from doing technology to stopping can still be hard. I’ve found that having my kids stop and do something away from the screen every hour for at least 30 minutes to an hour prevents this difficult transition.

The timer I talk about below helps a lot with this, as well.

3 – Kids being unable to stop when screen time is over

Ugh!! I used to hate this. I’d hear things such as:

  • The round isn’t over!
  • Just a few more minutes, please?
  • If I stop now I can’t save!

And then I found the {almost magical} solution. This timer is a visual timer. It shows time passing so my kids are able to grasp the amount of time they have left much better. When the timer goes off, it beeps loudly 3 times. With this timer, my kids are able to set it and see how long they have left. I seldom have any issues with them stopping now that we have this Godsend!

4 – Wanting screen time because there is nothing else to do

This is especially the case with my preteen – he loves reading, being with friends, going places with us, playing board games, and technology. Besides from reading and technology, all these activities require other people. Oftentimes, I’ll let him play games just because he is restless which is not a habit I want to continue.

One thing that I’m talking with both of my kids about is that technology is used for different purposes:

  • Passive Technology – TV shows, movies, video games, endless searches for videos or information that are for entertainment
  • Learning Technology – Sites, movies, shows that teach you something
  • Useful Technology – Sites and programs that allow you to do something like budget spreadsheets or WordPress

This summer I’m allowing my son to do technology but I’m incorporating the learning and useful aspects of computers. For instance, he’s using Duolingo so he can start learning Japanese, Buzzmath so he can get a head start on his middle school math, and TED Talks for kids so he can learn about some things that interest him.

Instead of working so hard to keep him away from technology, I’m going to widen his experience with technology.

My solutions for less screen time struggles are not perfect, of course, but I think they will alleviate some of the issues we’ve dealt with in the past. As with anything technology related, it’s a constant evolution and being willing to make changes and constantly reevaluate is part of any good solution.

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