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More Play Less Screens

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It's a little ironic writing this about screen time while I'm on a computer, but its the way of the world. I truly enjoy writing with paper and pen over typing and this also cuts down on my screen time. Screen time is any time spent on a computer, video game systems, cell phones, tablets or televisions. The internet is not a safe place for children or teens. Not only the fear of predators and scammers but also the bullies and the desire to be liked on social media. Children and teens are viewing themselves based on how many likes or comments they receive. When I was going up if you were to get picked on, it would stop when you would go home, but now it is constantly in you face on you phone or computer. There was no couture, highlight, lash inserts, lip plumper, no need to have picture perfect makeup. Did I mention the hair OMG I did the tight curly perm that looked like a big puff, the did the bump in the front, the bangs that started from the middle of my head, the side pony, and mother of all hair tools the crimper. Who had one? Mine was gray and it took over an hour to crimp my whole head. One last embarrassing thing most children had to go through when I was growing us was head gear. I know right you almost forgot about it the metal wire running from your braces around your head with that sexy colored strap. If any of those sexy styles would be worn to school today it would be on all over the internet in 30 seconds and not in a good way. I think of my childhood as a much simpler time. A time I wish our children could grow up in. But since it's not, we as parents have the choice to allow screen time to run our children's life or just use screen time as a fun passing activity. We are trying to let our children be children for as long as possible. We are proud parents of The Wait Until 8th Pledge. Have you heard about it? The pledge empowers parents to rally together to delay giving children smartphones until at least 8th grade. You can sign the pledge or spread the word at waituntil8th.org. We will most likely be waiting a little longer to give our children smart phones.

We only want to use screen time as a fun passing activity, so we created a system to allow our children screen time but in moderation. At the beginning of the week the children begin with a fresh start. All three of the children are able to earn screen time by completing daily age appropriate chores, displaying good manners, being respectful and well behaved. During the school week video game are not allowed and only 1 hour and 30 minutes of television time is allowed per day. They usually get television time before bed, this allows the house to relax and unwind before going to bed. On the weekends they are allowed 2 hours of video game time each day and same television time only if they have earned enough time through out the week.

Some ideas I have discovered if you have older children to help cut down on screen time is to change the WiFi password and not give it out till you seem necessary. Place a phone basket near your font door and make it a rule when the kids come home they turn the phone off and put in the basket. Keeping computers and video game systems in public spaces also allows them to stay monitored. Gift ideas other then video games may be books, board games, Legos, play doh, puzzles, chalk, bubbles, arts and crafts stuff, certificates for fun activities such as; bowling, indoor skydiving, ice skating, roller skating, golf or miniature golf ect.. Kids follow by example so as parents we need to try to limit our screen time also. When work is over we try to put the phone down and spend time with our loved ones. We make a point to eat dinner together every night and never have phones at the dinner table. If it rings we let it go. I would love to hear what your child's favorite non screen related activity is.

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