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How much 'screentime' do your 7-9ish yr olds have?

(7 Posts)
irregularegular Mon 10-Oct-11 11:44:37

And how do you manage the issue generally?

I'm really tired of the way my two seem to prioritise 'screentime' (tv/computer/DSetc) above everything else. It's become a real habit that the first thing they want to do when they have spare time is to put the computer on, and their first concern is how to fit their allowed time in to a busy day. I think perhaps we have handled this all wrong, but don't know how to change it now.

They are allowed a maximum total time each day: 1 hr weekdays, 1.5 hrs Saturdays, 2 hrs Sundays (to keep them quiet in the morning while we're in bed). They can largely take it when they want, but not before school or Saturday morning activities, and not after dinner except for a rare family treat watching a film or similar. When I set a maximum, the idea was that sometimes it would be much less, so the average would be lower, but that's rarely happening tbh. They see it as a 'must-do' not a maximum. I'm also sick of having to monitor the time for them.

I'd love to just forget the monitoring and reduce the whole focus on it, but fear they'd be sat in front of the screen all the time. I'm tempted to try to break the habit by having no screens for a while, but it would be tough...

Soooo (sorry, this got long), how much screetime do your children have? do you ration it (if so, how?)

What would you do if you were me?

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Mon 10-Oct-11 12:09:21

TBH, my DD has as much as she wants and always has. She doesn't come home from school until around 5 two nights a week, then she has homework on a Friday.
So, two nights she normally has an hour or so before dinner and at the weekends, it is pretty much inlimitted by me.
She does have to come shopping with me so that's three hours out of her Saturday and on Sunday she goes to church so that's another two hours.
She isn't that bothered by it TBH although she doesn't have any siblings.
She adores reading books and would much rather do that than play CBBC or whatever she does.

Smallstuff Mon 10-Oct-11 12:51:45

This is a difficult one. My DC (7, 6 and 4) are not limited as such but by the nature of the rules I use re when screens can be used the screen time is naturally limited.
We have never had any TV on in the weekday mornings and so they do not expect it before school. on the school days when we have no extra curricular activities (only 2!) the TV is only on after bath for about 30 minutes before bed time story.
At the weekend they are allowed to watch TV first thing so DH and I can stay in bed prob 1.5 to 2 hours max. Then no TV until the evening when we often watch together ( Strictly at present or you have been framed etc).
They do not have and will not be allowed DSs. I think they're the most anti social things ever!!!
We have a Wii but they can only play with us or under my supervision. TBH it causes so many rows that we rarely have it on. They hardly ask now and so it is mainly used when we have groups of friends round or as a family thing which I think is when it is the most fun.
I watched TV after school as a child but then it was only available after school not 24/7 like it is now!
TBH your screen time seems fine overall but I can understand your frustration at having to time everyone.
I have toyed with a period of being entirely screen free but actually think it would be me and DH who would find it hardest sadly!,

elfiro Mon 10-Oct-11 13:12:54

I find that the only time I really need to limit screen time is in the school holidays, when they would spend hours every day in front of tv or computer/DS if allowed. I allow 1-2 hours in the holidays and try to find other things to do, in and out of the house.

During term time there's simply no time during the week for it to become a problem - with 3 dcs doing various after school activities, homework, piano practice etc, they might have time for half an hour before bed but not every day. It means that at the weekends I don't really mind if they spend more time in front of screens, and there's usually a kids' party or something going on which breaks up the day anyway.

I see what you mean about "prioritising" screen time though. They do still like to read but I feel they could be making more of imaginative games etc, the way I did as a child. Not sure you can do anything about it though, technology will not go away.

lljkk Mon 10-Oct-11 13:25:23

I find that it's an individual child thing; what works for others may not work for you. DC1 is my addict and I feel we've tried all sorts of systems and now settled on:

I don't restrict time playing on DS (only DC1 has one, anyway).

Unlimited access to educational games ; non school days max 2 hours of pure leisure screen time. And they have to finish a household chore to get the time (as well as dressed & breakfasted & toothbrushed). Can be paid in money for doing household chores instead.

DC11yo: would be on there 24/7 if allowed; this is what happened when we had no restrictions
DC10yo: loves movies, but very rarely does chores and no interest in games, so very rarely at screens
DC7yo: prefers money for doing chores, even sells the rights to his screen time to DC1 who then does the jobs required.
DC4yo: is turning out like DC1 (would be on there 24/7 if allowed). He gets some free time, though (no chores).

DC1 is sometimes allowed to take his time a day early so that he doesn't moan about having to go out first thing and wait for his precious time.

DC get to watch some TV, play some games with me & DH, too.

OhMyGolly Mon 10-Oct-11 14:13:18

I don't have any official limits for my 8yo, depends on circumstances really. Although she hasn't had any access to the laptop for about 2 weeks now, due to terrible behaviour.

If we are having a lazy day then she will happily waste hours on the laptop (wonder where she gets that from hmm) although if given a choice would much rather be out and about.

phlossie Mon 10-Oct-11 14:19:41

It's interesting you posted this - I have just introduced 'screen time' because my 5 1/2 yo DS is obsessed with playing Sarah Jane adventures on CBBC website, and my DD could watch TV until the cows come home. It's very easy to let them do it so I can get on with other things... or rest (I'm pregnant).

I only let them watch Cbeebies (it bores DS and he doesn't know there are better things on other channels!) and play on the BBC websites, thus avoiding the dreaded adverts. I let them have half an hour a day, unless we watch something special like Planet Dinosaur or a film together.

Like smallstuff we have no TV before school. We also have no TV after dinner, so their normal screen time is after school. It is boring to have to time it, but it makes me feel better! My DS loves playing with his toys himself, but DD takes some entertaining, so it would be so easy just to let them chill quietly by the tv!

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