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How much screen time do your children under 12 get?

(63 Posts)
Pikachuwithyourmouthclosed Sun 12-Nov-17 06:36:21

Screens are the cause of 99% of the arguments in our house. I'm obviously getting it wrong.
I'm interested to know how much yours are allowed on screens, and how you manage it?

I have 3 children aged 6, 9 and 12.

We have one tv and they have an x-box attached to that, the 12 yr old has a phone, and they have 2 DS thingies.

They don't go on screens Monday to Friday morning.

Friday afternoon is a free-for-all once we get in from activities at 5ish and they usually play Minecraft together for a couple of hours.

Saturday morning they get up early and watch Youtube videos.
The rest of Saturday and all of Sunday they want to spend on screens but often we have other things to do.

I'm getting a lot of flack from them - apparently I'm too strict and I "arbitrarily" say no when there's no good reason why they can't go on screens. I don't like fighting with them about this. I suspect I might be a bit unrealistic. But if I give them an inch they take a mile - it's really hard to compromise and find a middle ground when what they want is unlimited access to all screens, all day every day. And they're so bloody grumpy after being on screens - really unpleasant and unkind to each other.

This afternoon ds sobbed and sobbed because I said no to playing a video game. I just didn't see the need - the sun was shining, we were all out in the garden, dh had tied up some hammocks and rigged up an old swing. We were having a nice time outside. Except of course, we weren't. Ds was having a miserable time, and would much rather have been inside playing Spore.

How do you do it?

Pengggwn Sun 12-Nov-17 06:40:47

I think Monday to Friday feels like a lifetime to a child. It's lovely that your DH put up a hammock but if your kids wanted to play a game then that's no consolation to them. Would an hour a day bother you that much, and why?

BeerBaby Sun 12-Nov-17 06:45:00

Mine have an hour a day on Xbox or iPad. TV is more but nothing on a school morning till they are fully ready to leave house.

TV at weekends afternoon is restricted until homework is done. Were usually out running around somewhere.

All meals eaten at table away from TVs and screens.

Catalufa Sun 12-Nov-17 06:55:55

Mine are 8, 10 and nearly 12.

We have a TV and a family iPad, and DC1 has a phone. Also a family laptop but they rarely use that. No Xbox or PlayStation.

The method I use is to keep the number of screens low (as per above list) so they have to share, and to keep them busy (they all do several after school / weekend activities, mainly sports). Beyond that I’m relaxed about it.

So I don’t set any specific limits, the limits are kind of naturally set by the above.

Sorry, but I agree that it seems a little ‘arbitrary’ to make them play on a hammock if they didn’t want to!

LastMangoInPeckham Sun 12-Nov-17 06:58:09

DS1 is 9, DS 2 is 7.

No TV or screens weekday mornings (never have so they don't even ask)

TV fairly unlimited after school until dinner.

iPads for up to an hour in the eve.

More TV at the weekend, not too much more iPad.

Definitely use iPad as a carrot for good behaviour!

According to DS1 I'm stricter than most...

Pengggwn Sun 12-Nov-17 06:59:22

I don't think it's arbitrary. Limiting screen time is a valid parenting tactic and it is done to help ensure wider interests and keep children healthy and developing properly. You're the parent so you get to set those boundaries. But in comparison to no screen time at all (which is almost what they have at the moment), allowing a little time every day could have a very positive effect, giving you the credit for having compromised (and therefore benefiting your relationships) without harming them in any way. Just my thoughts on it.

StinkPickle Sun 12-Nov-17 07:00:42

We are the same as you. No screens in the week as we don’t have time. Too many activities and playing to be done. Mine are only 1,3,5 tho.

At the weekend they’ll have a couple of hours of CBeebies.

My children are a lot nicer when they haven’t had screens. Screens make them whiny and argumentative.

PeachMelba78 Sun 12-Nov-17 07:06:00

Mine are 5 and 7 and we only have a tv and and iPad, nothing else.
Tv weekday mornings if they are running early or on time, for around 20 minutes. 15 minutes of IPad time a day with the option to earn more with good behaviour. No screens after 6pm Mon-Thurs, and movie night on Friday.
Any bad behaviour then no screen time for 2 days.
It's strict but it works for us, not sure what will happen when they get older!

Mosschopz Sun 12-Nov-17 07:12:57

No screen time Monday-Friday for my 7 year old then an hour Friday night. Weekends are more lenient; if we are out in a pub or restaurant or lounging around at home then they'll ask and usually be allowed. The less time the better, it's not a great use of time and often leads to arguments when we call time.

deptfordgirl Sun 12-Nov-17 07:17:58

It sounds like an addiction if your ds sobbed about it. Could you go cold turkey for a while? I only have a 2 year old though who doesn't use screens yet apart from the occasional cbeebies so I may be being naive!

DayKay Sun 12-Nov-17 07:24:26

Games and gadgets are addictive. My kids are around the same ages as yours and can be really affected by games. Their moods change. I’ve seen them get over emotional, get angry and cry.
I don’t allow games during the week, unless they have a friend round.
They play for an hour on a Friday after school and on weekends after 3 for a couple of hrs, if we re in.

irvineoneohone Sun 12-Nov-17 07:26:15

I don't limit my ds access at all. If he is ready to go to school in the morning, I let him play.
Week day evenings he doesn't have much time anyway, but if he did, I wouldn't say no.
Weekends, he does play quite a lot compared to others I read about on Mn, but he actually choose to go out to play ,or play with lego etc. instead by his own choice. He self moderate well enough, imo.

Pikachuwithyourmouthclosed Sun 12-Nov-17 07:26:23

Thanks all.

I've written and deleted a couple of looooooong replies.

I need to talk to them. We need to reach an agreement.

I think I have been really limiting them because I cannot stand the drama of battling about what / when / how long / whose turn etc etc etc. It's easier to just say no. But they're becoming resentful, and it's not good. I'm going to let them have a bit more time and freedom, but at the same time they have to agree to some conditions.

Itsallabout Sun 12-Nov-17 07:30:45

My 11 year old has no screen time before school. Tv is watched every other day after homework and they can watch movies on the weekend.
Ipad is used during the week for homework only and gets 1 hour on a Saturday afternoon. Ipad time is earned during the week by getting ready for school without dramatics and by doing simple chores ( can only earn an hour max playing time though).

Anoneemouses Sun 12-Nov-17 07:32:17

I have 3 under 12. I hate the affect of screens on their mood, especially when they are younger.

We have no TV in the week at all. IPad or Laptop only for homework in the week. My eldest has an iPhone and it goes into a drawer at dinner time and not out again n until breakfast.

At weekend they can watch TV until 8.30am if they wake up earlier - mainly so I can sleep. And we might watch A movie together one weekend eve. The eldest can have her phone in the weekend day times but if she stares at it too much it’s taken away.

We have no consoles etc. Never will.

Goldenbear Sun 12-Nov-17 08:06:43

I don't have limits. We have a Nintendo, my 6 year old DD is not interested in playing but will watch her brother play lego city undercover. My Ds is 10 and loves football, he likes FIFA but he gets bored and will play 40 mins tops some nights, other nights nothing at all. He would rather go to the park after school opposite and play football with his friends. Other screen time is 10 mins checking football news on my iPad which is most nights.

They both are very in to playing lego together and sometimes take photos for something they've joined called lego life. Other children will like their work and judges may comment. I suppose that's screen time but it's not every day and it's a ten minute thing.

TV - 20 minutes roughly a night watching Lego Friends or Nijargo. The six year old still watches Peter rabbit and likes programmes like the Worst Witch.

Crunchymum Sun 12-Nov-17 08:10:35

Without TV I wouldn't get anything done. Mine are watching Blaze now blush

We only have one TV in the house though and a kids kindle thing. No other screens.

We probably watch way too much TV but it's the only thing that keep mine quiet and stop them fighting shock

Caulk Sun 12-Nov-17 08:15:20

I think they are old enough to help come up with their own conditions or a plan - they may well have ideas you haven’t thought about. Talk to them about it.

Fairylea Sun 12-Nov-17 08:19:04

We don’t restrict screens at all- well apart from at bedtime (teen has to have gadgets plugged in downstairs in kitchen at 10pm). I have a 5 year old and a 14 year old. Because they know they can go on things as much as they want they are fairly relaxed about it and don’t go on them all the time anyway. We go out a lot as a family and they have a lot of outdoor time. We all love our phones and iPads etc when we come home and use them to unwind. My youngest has autism and using apps on the iPad has really helped his reading and motor skills too.

MegBusset Sun 12-Nov-17 08:20:11

Mine are 8 and 10. We have a family laptop and Xbox, and the 10yo has a phone.

Our rules are:

- Generally no gaming on a school day. Once or twice a week they can use the laptop for writing or coding

- Up to an hour of TV before bedtime (they usually choose to watch YouTube videos)

- On weekends and holidays they can Watch a bit of TV before breakfast

- On weekends and holidays they can play an hour or so of video games, but only in the afternoon once we are home from whatever we have been doing that day. Sometimes we are out late and don't have time for games. Then they might get some extra time the next day.

It works well for us, they know not to even bother asking outside of these times!

Takamine Sun 12-Nov-17 08:23:01

We have an Xbox, a Mac with a few games, an iPad, an iPod and a phone between 3 DC.

No screen time Monday - Thursday or Friday morning. They rarely ask to have them on a Friday after school as we normally go out , skate park etc. Saturday afternoon if it's bad weather they will have a couple of hours (sports in the AM) and if we go to a friends for an evening they bring screens as now it's dark there isn't much else for all the kids to do. Sunday is much the same as Saturday, sports in the Am. however, Sunday dinner is in the afternoon, usually with guests, or at somebody else's and after dinner on a Sunday it's no screens as school the following day.

I appreciate that we are super strict compared to others, but this works best for us. There is no deviating, and they no it. In the past I found the more they had them, the more tantrums it caused.

BoysRule Sun 12-Nov-17 08:26:48

I think children like clear rules that they can understand. If they know how long they’ve got or when they’ve got it then they can plan their time - prioritise favourite games etc.

Mine have half an hour a day of iPad time. We have a TV but they don’t watch much and we often watch it together so I don’t feel the need to restrict it.

When I tell them their half an hour is up if they whine or complain they don’t get it the next day.

They get extra for times tables and spelling practice for homework.

They’re 5 and 8.

LouBlue1507 Sun 12-Nov-17 08:28:07

I won't be putting a limit of TV for my DD. The more restrictions you put on something the more appealing it is. I've worked with children for many years and found that children who have TV restricted at home are glued to it, those who are used to the TV take notice and continue in their play.

Cleanermaidcook Sun 12-Nov-17 08:29:17

Mine are 8 and 9.
We have 2 tv's, one has the Xbox attached. Dd (9) also has a laptop.
Rule is no tv weekday mornings. After school they usually have a bit of screen time between their clubs and hobbies. No limits at weekend but they are out Saturday and Sunday all morning for hobby/church. As long as homework and reading are done I'm happy for them to have them weekend afternoons, especially if the weather is bad, if it's not they tend to want to play out anyway.
Screens don't seem to affect their moods in fact they play Xbox together so it's nice.

Marcine Sun 12-Nov-17 08:29:25

Once they're ready for school and after 5pm weekdays, as much as they want at weekends.

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