Recently Miss Manners visited. She is a very well-read parent (on parenting books) and she brought her kid plus her kid’s friend (all my kids except Cousin It were away). The kids were awesome. They didn’t ask for screen time. They entertained themselves. They didn’t complain of boredom.
I was amazed.
I asked what she had drugged them with. Nothing.
I told her that my kids have gotten into the habit of expecting screen time almost constantly. Now, there are 24 hours in a day, and I think that allows for a little screen time but it had become habit. And once the screen was on, it was difficult (for me) to turn off.
Miss Manners suggested a two week break on screen time. I said, “what if they complain or say they’re bored?”
She said, “If they say that, I would give then something to do. Like sweep the kitchen…”
So I started on Tuesday. I laid out the expectations: they can’t have screen time for a week. If they say they’re bored or complain, I have a 3500sf house that is difficult to keep “clean.” Otherwise, they do not have to go above and beyond re: chores/cleaning.
I did pull out as many games as I could find and told them where they could find said games and cards. But I’m trying not to run around like a cruise director. And I get screen time (duh), although I’m staying off the tv when they’re awake.
They seem to be having a good time, and they’re playing well together. I asked Mineral’s psychiatrist what she thinks is appropriate for daily screen time and she said 1-2 hours/day. Maybe I’ll implement that when the week ends.