What Parents Can Do to Limit Kids’ Screentime

If you do one thing this year to take control of screentime and media consumption in your home, let it be this:

Collect the kids’ devices at night and recharge them in the parents’ bedroom.

This simple action clarifies a few important things:

  1. I am the parent in charge, and looking after you is a responsibility I take seriously.
  2. Your sleep is precious and worth protecting, and I will take steps to do just that.
  3. You have up until 9:00 PM [–or insert a time that suits your family–] to use your device for school and socialising. After that, it’s all over for the day. Use your screentime wisely—finish your homework FIRST, then play.
  4. You can (truly, you can) wait until morning to find out what’s going on with your friends.

Parents are Limit Setters

Limits create safety and foster restraint. Establishing a shut-down policy is an important limit. Your Family Shut Down Time should include a time and a place. 9:00 PM is not unreasonable, even for senior secondary students. Earlier would be better. Include a place: The parents’ room is the ideal spot for a recharging station because it can be monitored (and secured). Any sneaky late-night access to the device would risk waking mum and dad. Dad’s grumpy reaction to being disturbed at 2:00 AM is a potent reminder to kids that chatting/texting in the wee hours is inappropriate abnormal.

screentime and sleep

Relaxing Music http://www.flickr.com/photos/83905817@N08


Parents are Sleep Guardians

Good sleep is critical for learning and for general wellbeing. People—especially adolescents—don’t cope for long with broken sleep. Intermittent beeps, buzzes, and flashes will wreck chances of restful sleep, but don’t forget about all those seemingly insignificant stand-by lights. Even little lights on monitors impact sleep. It’s best to have no glowing lights in the bedroom. For optimal sleep conditions, make sure the alarm clock is dimmed.

Parents are Role Models

Demonstrating moderation in screentime is so important. Abide by the Family Shut Down Time. After all, your sleep is precious too!

PS: Make sure you get all devices–phones, iPods, tablets, etc.

PSS: Don’t forget to switch the devices to silent. Sweet dreams!


Photo created by Relaxing Music, used under Creative Commons license, CC by NC SA 2.0


Check out this post on sleep: The Sleep-Study Conundrum for Seniors