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Old 02-19-2018, 10:16 AM   #1
marbles
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Default 3 kids and limiting screen time...

We are not super strict about screen time, but lately we've gotten worse (how it always goes: being sick, break from school, it just gets easier) and I want to put some limits up. We have so many options, I'm at a loss what to do. Before they really got into video games it was easy! Now the youngest only wants to watch her shows and the big kids are into walkthroughs, they never agree on what to watch. I got into letting two of them watch on the TV and the other one to watch on the iPad or the computer but then they would be in their own spaces and I'd lose track of time (especially if they were each on different devices). I need to figure out a system that works for us. Today we worked out giving everyone roughly thirty minutes of their choice during lunchtime, but I'm not sure how that will go. How do you figure out limits for TV and video games for multiple children who are into different things? What's your system? Factors to consider: my husband works long hours and swing shift, so I'm doing this by myself a lot and we homeschool and half the time Daniel is asleep during the day in our small house.
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: 3 kids and limiting screen time...

I'm following along. I've got four DC ranging from 2-9 years old so it's difficult to choose something that is suitable for all of them. We also homeschool and try to limit, though I've been giving in a lot more since I'm packing to move into the house were buying. My two sisters are moving a few states away so we have put school in hold to spend time with them. That has meant increased screen time while we get ready to leave the house several days in a row and the fatigue that comes, for me, from being out most of the day. I'm hoping it's just a phase, but too often, having an interrupting, active two year old makes life difficult to do completely without the screens. I hope to go cold turkey when we move and transition into more of a balance.
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: 3 kids and limiting screen time...

I have five who all have opinions. I would say though that I really have two groups though...older and younger.

We have wii with limited games and they must share the controllers and only get to play in the afternoons. If they cannot get along with it, then we are done. They get along fairly well most times though.

Before bed they are allowed to watch some tv. Typically the younger kids get to pick a show together. I usually give a few choices for them to pick from. They get to watch their show while the older kids play a card game, color, or do something quiet. Then the younger kids go to bed. The older three get to choose a show. They usually agree and it is not a big deal. If they are having trouble I usually just say child one chooses tonight, child two tomorrow....but they usually agree so it is not a big deal. It is always an option to leave the living room if a certain child does not like the show and that is encouraged over complaining. Most will just go read a book in bed.

we don't have ipads and all of the other stuff so that is not a problem. Sometimes my oldest does use the laptop at night while the younger kids are watching a show.
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marbles (02-19-2018)
Old 02-19-2018, 12:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: 3 kids and limiting screen time...

We have four ages 4-9, and homeschool and dh works 75+ hours per week. We have done different things at different times. Right now, I allow up to 1.5 hours of tv watching per day (we don’t have computers, iPads, or video games available). No screen on Saturday because that is the day dh is home and we do family stuff. And rarely Sunday just because we have other stuff we do on Sundays (like play with neighbors!). They can either agree on one movie, or more often, they choose 2-3 short (25 min) shows. I have to approve the show, and it has almost always been Wild Kratts lately.

We have a few rules with tv time: school must be done (there are exceptions, but this is the default); bedrooms and living room must be picked up; it must be after lunch; and no complaining — everybody takes turns picking, if you don’t want to watch go somewhere else; if people don’t behave well later in the day then future tv privileges might be revoked. Periodically we will have a screen free week or two just to reset. My kids are super sensitive to both amount and content. So we watch minimal veggie tales, dr Seuss, and various other shows because they just don’t behave well afterwards. The content in those shows is fine but maybe they are just too fast-paced or colorful or something?

Other times we have had assigned days of the week for who can pick. That worked well because it was so predictable. Again, no complaining because everyone has a chance to pick.
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: 3 kids and limiting screen time...

If my two older kids get their schooling and chores done all week, they get an hour Friday or Saturday. They get it separately and mostly play Colonization or Civilization. My younger kids get none unless we all watch a family movie maybe once every other month. We have watched Olympics a few times. Family screen time doesnít count as their screen time, but itís also very rare.
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: 3 kids and limiting screen time...

Oh, mine get way too much. But the weather has been so bad lately, once chores are done, there isn't much else to do. They like board games but right now my younger son is working his way through Smallville on Hulu. I'm mostly ok with it as long as homework and chores get done as grades are good. At least the are no commercials and he's not just flipping channels all night.
Once he's done with series, or if grades slide, then it's a nice break and rethinking screen time. But by then weather should be better and the chance to go play with neighbors will be more enticing.

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Old 02-20-2018, 07:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: 3 kids and limiting screen time...

During holiday breaks or when we have sickness in the house things get totally relaxed and they get lots of screen-time, I used to be ashamed of it, but I've let that go, and I don't think it's really that horrible for them. The part that IS bad is when their attitudes start to deteriorate because of it. So I don't judge based on hours of screen-time, but how are their hearts/attitudes. And ironically (or not ) when they have lots of screen-time their attitudes get sucky LOL.

So, our normal routine is that Mon-Fri the only screen time they get is in the evening when I'm cooking dinner and they have to agree on a show. If they argue, TV off. On Friday night we make a big deal about movie night... then on Sat and Sun they get a free for all of screens. One TV with video games (like minecraft) a second TV with kid shows (like PBS) and two Amazon Fire tablets that they take turns with in 15 minute increments. We do lots of family activities on the weekends so this free for all isn't like ALLLL weekend hahaha...

But we live on 5 acres in the woods, and they get SO much time outdoors, and we homeschool so I feel like their time is very balanced. If they were in classrooms all day I think I would feel differently.
But for me, again, it comes down to "how is it affecting their heart/attitudes" vs. "what is that other 'perfect' mom doing with her kids"
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Old 02-20-2018, 07:57 PM   #8
marbles
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Default Re: 3 kids and limiting screen time...

Quote:
Originally Posted by squiddles View Post
During holiday breaks or when we have sickness in the house things get totally relaxed and they get lots of screen-time, I used to be ashamed of it, but I've let that go, and I don't think it's really that horrible for them. The part that IS bad is when their attitudes start to deteriorate because of it. So I don't judge based on hours of screen-time, but how are their hearts/attitudes. And ironically (or not ) when they have lots of screen-time their attitudes get sucky LOL.

So, our normal routine is that Mon-Fri the only screen time they get is in the evening when I'm cooking dinner and they have to agree on a show. If they argue, TV off. On Friday night we make a big deal about movie night... then on Sat and Sun they get a free for all of screens. One TV with video games (like minecraft) a second TV with kid shows (like PBS) and two Amazon Fire tablets that they take turns with in 15 minute increments. We do lots of family activities on the weekends so this free for all isn't like ALLLL weekend hahaha...

But we live on 5 acres in the woods, and they get SO much time outdoors, and we homeschool so I feel like their time is very balanced. If they were in classrooms all day I think I would feel differently.
But for me, again, it comes down to "how is it affecting their heart/attitudes" vs. "what is that other 'perfect' mom doing with her kids"
Our weekends are similar, we are kind of a nerd family so movies and TV and video games are a lot of how we connect. I mean one daughter is named after a video game character and one is a movie character so...
I like this. I wanted to do TV at lunch on school days because I remember that fondly. But sometimes it seems like that signals to the kids that all responsibility is done and I hear whining and complaining about afternoon chores. Maybe that's something I need to let go of myself.
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