I care deeply about the mental and physical development of my children. I know that too much screen time will hinder growth. There are studies and studies about it.
So decided to limit the amount of screen time they get. Each child is only allowed 2 hours per day max. This is total – includes games on the iPad, movies, computer games, etc.
But that rule is actually pretty difficult to enforce. With my children all being so close in age (6, 4 and 3 years old) I am finding it very difficult to keep track of how much time each child spends.
Some ideas I have tried (and why they didn’t work)
1. Only allowing electronic screen time at certain times each day. This didn’t work because it takes a lot of monitoring of each child and I end up only policing the children instead of accomplishing anything else (like house work or playing with my kids). And while I love giving 100% attention to all of my children every single second they are awake, I’ll be honest – it doesn’t happen. Inevitably I’ll get distracted with dishes while another child sneaks off with the iPad and I’m thinking “that’s ok, at least I have a chance to catch up over here.”
2. No DVDs in the van. There is a DVD player in the Toyota Sienna. For the next few months I am reviewing a Toyota Sienna and it has this awesome DVD player! YAY! Except… I can’t keep track of whether it was 30 minutes in the van they watched or 40 and when we get home, I just forget. I’m terrible, I know. So I’ve tried to not allow DVDs in the van, but what is the fun in that?
3. Timing every child. I tried using an egg timer. But then another child would run off with a phone or iPad and I just lost track.
I guess my next idea is to say “no electronics during the week.” But they would feel like I was punishing them, wouldn’t they?
So do you have children this close in age? How do you keep track of their screen time?