This past year we’ve played a lot of video games and my kids pretty much want to be on screens 24/7. I mean who can blame them, there’s not much else to do when you’ve been stuck at home for almost a year.
We do have a few screen time rules in our house but 2020 totally blew most of our rules out the window. However, we still have a few guidelines and rules for when kids can play on certain devices.
Pandemic Screen Time Rules
1. No Video Games on Weekdays before or during school hours.
2. Only iPad time permitted on school days in the evening. (The main reason we do this is because dividing time on the Nintendo Switch among 4 kids is difficult)
3. Nintendo Switch only on the weekends, time must be divided evenly among all kids. Usually, 1 hour per kid.
4. You must have permission to play on any device at any time. (All iPads have lock codes that the children don’t know. They also have time limits on certain games)
5. Chores and/or other responsibilities must be completed before any screen time.
That’s pretty much it.
Also, our kids know general internet safety rules. They don’t play a lot of games where they chat with people online that they don’t know. They never enter their personal information online or give it to anyone. And if they see or hear something that they think is bad or makes them uncomfortable the come tell us.
I’ll be honest most days they spend several hours on screens (I’m not even counting school screens). This is just where we are in life right now. We do occasionally have days where we don’t play on screens and try to do family activities but we’re all pretty burnt out on pandemic life and this is how we manage. To be fair they aren’t just watching annoying YouTube videos all day (although there is a fair share of that), they have all learned how to code, edit videos using iMovie, make their own music in Garage Band and they play many other educational games. So I can tell myself they are learning valuable life skills!
My number 1 parenting rule right now is to take it easy. Be easy on yourself, be easy on your kids.