Screen time: it’s a lifeline, so make a plan for it

Skills & Habits


Screen time: it’s a lifeline, so make a plan for it

For many of us, our screens are now our lifelines. In fact, they may be the only way we are staying connected to work, school, and friends. There is unprecedented opportunity online. The Internet is one of the most powerful tools in the quest to expose kids to possible passions and a place where kids can seek information to inform their curiosity.

When screens are the only way to connect with the outside world, we recognize kids will be using them more than parents may want; however, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their recommendations for screen time from limiting the number of minutes kids are on devices to creating a plan that includes input from all family members. Use a plan creator to design a strategy that will work in your household.  

Choose your entertainment carefully. This may not be the best time to watch sad movies. Find something uplifting that will encourage you.

When you sit down to watch movies, videos, and tv shows together take a moment to discuss them afterward. This is not only an opportunity to bond but may lead to discovering a newfound interest you and your kid may want to learn more about.

When the time comes to disconnect, plan how you’ll connect to each other. Play board games? Read a book together? Make a meal? When you ask your kid to design a plan for the family you’re encouraging them to practice goal-setting.  

Here are more media resources.

How to Make Screen Time Work 
  • Identify screen-free zones in your home where mobile devices and TVs are not allowed like the bedroom or the dining table.
  • Identify screen-free times throughout the day.  Mealtimes and the hour before bed are two such times. If you have an overnight device curfew, specify exactly what time it starts and where devices will be stored overnight.
  • Figure out how to divide screen time between co-play/co-watching and more singular or focused viewing.  What shows, apps and screens fall under each. This will help build everyone’s negotiation skills
  • Don’t forget to talk to your kids about digital citizenship! Teach your kids about cyberbullying and make sure they know they can come to you if they see, read or hear something that is doesn’t seem right.
  • Digital citizenship includes: 
    • Respecting others’ privacy by not forwarding texts or photos without permission
    • Not being rude or bullying online
    • Telling a parent or other trusted adult if they see instances of bullying or disrespect or if they get messages that make them uncomfortable.
  • Turn it around and use screens to create content.
    • Host a digital show and tell for sharing real-world learning moments.
    • Show off your kid’s culinary skills with a digital cooking or baking competition.
    • Sponsor a Zoom talent show and entertain friends and relatives around the world.