, Salem, MA


February 15, 2013

Setting limits on kids' screen time

Q: I have a boy and a girl, ages 6 and 8, who are overly focused on screen time with digital devices. How can I set limits without seeming like I want to take away all their fun? They insist all their friends use digital devices whenever they want.

A: Children will always push for more of what they want, whether or not it is good for them, but most children will respond positively when parents act authoritatively and set appropriate limits. Do not be afraid to say “no” to screen time. First, you need to find your own comfort level with technology and try not to be overly influenced by the culture we live in. You, not society, decide how to manage the devices in your home.

Second, realize that what children really want is to connect with friends and significant adults in a meaningful way. Look at your schedule and routine; how much downtime is there after school? If your children are not involved in positive activities after school, they are more at risk for overuse of technology. Most 6- and 8-year-olds can play independently for at least 30 minutes when engaged in such activities as sports, playing with friends, playing make-believe games or Legos, or doing art projects.

Children ages 6 and 8 are in school until about 3 p.m. and arrive home by 3:30 p.m.. Most will be in bed by 7:30. Here’s a suggested schedule for your children that could help you limit screen time:

Put away belongings, have a snack and school debrief, 3:30-4 p.m.

Semi-structured activity with or without friends, 4-5 p.m.

Homework, 5-5:30

Baths, 5:30-6

Dinner, 6- 6:30

Clean up and family activity-playing game, dancing, singing, 6:30-7

Teeth brushing and bedtime story, 7-7:30

Bedtime, 7:30 (an 8-year-old may read independently until 8 or 8:30)

Parenting Tips: How you structure time will directly influence screen time. Devise a plan for managing downtime with an adult available to be engaged when independent play breaks down. Recognize that the younger a child is when technology is introduced, the more reliant they will become on their devices. Children who use technology for extended periods (an hour or more) have more difficulty disengaging from it, since the interactive nature of technology makes it addictive.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • North Shore religion calendar Saturday, April 19 Easter Bunny Breakfast & Egg Hunt, 10 a.m. to noon, Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, 323 Locust St., Danvers. The youth groups of Northshore and Beverly Unitarian Universalist churches will hold an Easter breakfast and egg

    April 19, 2014

  • North Shore religion news in brief The Rev. Marya DeCarlen has been named the new, full-time priest in charge at All Saints Episcopal Church of the North Shore in Danvers. DeCarlen's ministry with the parish begins Sunday, April 27. Her appointment comes after the church's yearlong in

    April 19, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Teenage girl’s boyish figure is often deceiving to others Dear Abby: I'm a 14-year-old girl with a problem. Because of my buzzed short hair, slim hips and flat chest, I frequently get mistaken for a boy. It really bothers me because, despite my haircut and body shape, I have a feminine face and I wear women

    April 19, 2014

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20

    Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vet Connection: Is it OK to give a dog a bone? We have all seen the cartoons and commercials depicting dogs burying bones and stashing them away for later. Unfortunately, most pet owners are completely unaware of the significant risks and problems that are associated with feeding dogs these treat

    April 18, 2014

  • Ask Dog Lady: Why is my dog fascinated with burying things? Dear Dog Lady, My dog came across a dead cat at the park and proceeded to bury the cat with surrounding leaves by using her nose and pushing the leaves over the dead cat. Two days later, we went back to the park, and she found the dead cat again and

    April 18, 2014

  • ed Ipswich author to share drawing techniques Most of Ed Emberley's 80 children's books, 20 of which are still in print, have one goal in mind. "Showing the kids you can draw; everybody can draw something," he said. "They get encouragement from working with the simplest thing." Emberley will giv

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • holtenhouse Quick pick 'Voices From the Back Stairs' Jennifer Pustz of Historic New England presents "Voices From the Back Stairs" tomorrow at 2, at the Judge Samuel Holten House, 171 Holten St., Danvers. In her presentation, Pustz explores domestic service in 19th- and 20

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Assistant’s gruff attitude needs to be smoothed out Dear Abby: How do I deal with an assistant who keeps calling me a "brown-noser"? She did it again yesterday at a staff meeting in front of my boss and another assistant. It was the third time she has said it. She is gruff and rude, and several people

    April 18, 2014

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, April 18

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker