Children love screens, but how much is actually right?
And did you really know that you can use your children’s desire for colorful pictures behind glass to make sense for you?
How long were you allowed to watch TV as a child?
For me, it was the famous children’s lesson. So the one hour a day when there was something on TV that interested me. After that, the normal adult program ran again.
What did our parents have it in the past. A screen on which something ran for a limited period of time, which children find interesting at first. A self-regulating medium.
Today we are facing very different challenges. Everywhere there are screens with enticing content – TV, tablets, smartphones, game consoles, …
In order to cope with this situation, a completely new concept has even emerged – screen time.
This article is about this screen time and how you can strategically use it for your family life.
Set screen time
Children love everything that has a screen. If it were up to them, they would play around with it for hours and forget everything else around them.
I think it is important to allow children to watch TV as well as to allow them to use media such as tablets and smartphones. They only gain the right media literacy if they learn to interact with it in moderation.
As a rule of thumb, I consider the following times to be appropriate:
Children of preschool age: 30 minutes a day
Primary school children: 60-90 minutes a day
As I said, these times are not set in stone or any maximum standards. As a parent, you should think about how much screen time you want to give your child. For example, this fluctuates during the week. On weekends, the time in front of the screen is already longer.
How to find the net screen time
In order to use the screen time wisely for you, it is necessary to determine beforehand how much of this time you can really use. This net screen time is really time that you can freely distribute throughout the day.
Are there certain rituals for you when your child is watching TV or playing iPad, such as after school? Are there any shipments that play a role in your daily routine, such as the sandman after going to bed?
You may take these times into account when calculating the net screen time.
Use screen time as a strategic parental tool
Now that you’ve decided how long your child can deal with a screen, it’s time to consider when that screen time is ideal.
Of course, granting screen time can be totally flexible and spontaneous. But why shouldn’t you strategically use these times in such a way that you have some of them?
I bet you’ve never seen that before.
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As a father, you know the situation for sure. You want to do something, but the kids come with something all the time, so you don’t get to do anything at all or you’re constantly interrupted.
Here, screen time develops its superhero potential. Used sensibly at such times, it can be a true nerve healer or productivity turbo.
Appropriate opportunities for the strategic use of screen time
As an inspiration for how to use screen time for you, I’ve listed a few examples of when I’ve used the superpower of the screen.
Phone calls – make appointments, discuss some important things with the bank, the tax advisor or just talk to your buddy. If it’s a little quieter in the house, I can just concentrate better.
Important banking matters – there are things I need to focus on. These are things like when I take care of our banking matters or make the tax return. Here I use the screen time to work on something without interference for 30-60 minutes
Cleaning, cooking, mowing the lawn – it can be dangerous for some work in and around the household if you are interrupted (e.g. if you have a pan with hot fat on the stove) but at least extremely annoying. Here, too, the wonder weapon screen time can be used helpfully
You may run again as a role model
As you can see, the strategic use of screen time is very good to spare your nerves and get some things done. This miracle weapon quickly leads them to use it as a panacea.
Here, as an adult, you are required to deal responsibly with this resource and to adhere to the rules of the game (total screen time).
That means in plain language, keep to the time, even if what you do takes longer.
If you’re not done yet, other measures will have to be taken.
TV, Tablet & Co are not babysitters
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If you let it slip in that the time is flexible when it suits you – your child will demand the same flexibility and the beautiful plan to teach your child media literacy is gone.
The most important skill you need as a father is in demand again here – consistency.
Bonus tips for practice
For the practical implementation I have a few tips for you.
What should the children fill their screen time with
You certainly don’t want your kids to kill your screen time with anything. therefore, I have linked a few tips for the most important media (TV, tablet, smartphone).
Apps are not only fun, but can even be very educational. Here you will find a selection of apps installed on our devices.
Shows on TV aren’t as flexible as you might think, but if the timing suits me, I think these TV shows are good (many of them are also available on iTunes, for example).
Streaming playlist if there is nothing suitable on TV or you are not a fan of it because of all the advertising on TV, you can take advantage of the new streaming services. In my Watchever launch guide I have compiled a selection of children’s series and movies.
Screen time TV
Making technology child-proof
Our children spend most of their screen time in front of the iPad. If that’s the case with you, you can think about how you can protect your expensive technology. The hardware is one thing, the software and apps on your iPad is another.
If this is interesting for you, you can read it in detail in my manual.
Our parents may not have faced the challenge of teaching children with all the different devices of media literacy, but they also didn’t have the opportunity to benefit from it themselves.
I hope you take some useful tips on how to get the best out of both worlds for you.
Screen time, no matter what device, can be a handy tool for parents. It’s totally OK to use them strategically throughout the day when it suits you right now.
It is important that you also deal with your children’s screen time in a disciplined manner and do not simply park them in front of them when they are just difficult or you don’t feel like it.
How does Su plan to use your children’s desire from the box in the future or on what occasions have you ever used TV, Tablet & Co. to help? Post your response in the comments.