This is the post where a blogger who wrote for years about limiting screen time for kids admits she no longer cares. Here’s my story.
If you know me personally, I am someone who has a lot going on. 4 kids, several businesses and well, it is 2021 so there is that. Raising 4 kids in this technology age is well interesting. A lot has been learned this past year, and something needs to be said. So here we go.
Over the years, I’ve covered various tech parenting subjects and the topic of screen time for kids seems to continually be a topics that comes up. In 2020, the topics is still alive but with a twist – parenting guilt. Let’s chat about the new rules, grace for parents, virtual school and guilt parents have for their kids being on screens.
Screen Time for Kids in 2021
Before getting to knee deep in the screen time for kids topic, I do recognize that my kids are now older than when my original blog posts about screen time, technology tickets and what have you were posted. Yes, of course. The age of your children and how much time they spend on screens is important.
Something else that is important is understanding that the world around is evolving and changing. Hello, 2021 – I think we all recognize this – or at least I hope.
Grace for Parents
Before stating anything about parenting or our screen time for kids rules, I always like to enclose a disclaimer.
This is a judgement free zone. Grace is given and expected to be received. Every household, family, child and parent is different and because of that – it’s best to read and take away what is best for YOUR situation.
Give grace, get grace. The end – let’s move on.
Unlimited Screen Time
Up until Spring 2020, screen time for kids – well our kids, was a strict schedule in regards to the amount of time each day they could spend on screens. While yes, the older 2 teens are now given more time – we do still have 9 and 10-year-old boys.
Spring 2020 hit and with nothing else to do, school being virtual learning and just a few hours a day. Friends in person were not allowed, we gave in with screen time limits – for the most part.
Summer arrived and life was still nuts so yes, the unlimited screen time went on.
Our 2020 Screen Time Rules for Kids
So here is the low down of where we are with 2020 screen time rules for kids. (Our kids, I should say!)
Screen Time During School Day
Our 4 kids are all in virtual school / virtual learning thru our public school. So cutting screens off during the school day is NOT an option.
Borrowing a School Device for Virtual Learning
That said, we did decide to borrow school devices for school work. Our public school offers a free device rental for students. In the spring, we declined the offer – but fast forward to fall – we realized we needed to do this.
Having specific tech devices for school versus leisure play makes limiting screen time a lot easier. Kids can’t install all of the games and apps on their school devices. The school offers an internet filter and everything goes thru the school network. This has really helped in keeping the kids focused during the school day.
Our younger kids finish school around 2pm, so they have access to their computers for playing (let’s face it, they just pretty much play Among Us) until their computer internet shuts off at 8:00 pm.
The older 2 kids are teenagers. They have access to the internet until 11:00 pm.
Weekend Screen Time Rules
During the weekend, we lax the screen time rules but for our younger kids – we setup rules so they have to request more screen time in order to get it. Most of the time we will grant the additional time – but make them earn it by doing a chore, like take out the trash or pick up their room.
Screen time can work in your favor! Use it as a positive reward. It really works well for our kids.
Full Access to Computer, Tablets and Phones
One of the screen time rules that we kept from before is that we the parents, have full access to the kids’ computers, tablets and smart phones. While the world is changing, there is still bad things and evil people on the internet.
2021 Change in Perspective
As with many things that have changed in 2020, how we view the kids screen time is definitely one of them.
With our kids in virtual learning – they aren’t with their friends all day, or basically EVER in real life. It totally sucks, but when you have a high risk person living with you, doing what you can to keep well is a priority.
That said, the kids play and connect with their friends via Discord. Our youngest has a bestie who is in a similar situation with having to limit exposure. This has been a God send as his parents too are not too hard on screen time rules.
In 2021, kids are on computers at home for school, entertainment AND connection. Years past, sure the kids might drop a text message or email Grandma to connect. Now it’s different and screens allow our kids to stay connected when they can’t in real life.
When Life Returns to Normal
I wrote the headline When Life Returns to Normal and then laughed. Maybe it’s just me and my out of the box thinking but this is now normal. It may not be what we do in 2021 – but what we do then, will be normal.
If you think of normal as whatever state that you are in, it helps shift perspective. We all know that 2020 is a dumpster fire, but it’s the dumpster fire that we will get thru and move on.
Life is always something. With it comes changes and new normalcy. Screen time for kids – more of it because of how we live, well thats just the normal for now.
Create What’s Best for Your Home
As always, creating what is best for your home and setting up screen time rules that work with your ebb and flow is best. This is just what has worked for us and how 2020 has shifted our stricter screen time rules to a set of rules that are more flexible.
Screen Time Guilt
Know that screen time guilt is normal. Like all things parenting, a guilt can hover over ahead – especially with screen time for kids.
Just know you aren’t alone with this struggle. Make sure that you are connecting with your kids. Ensure that they are in a healthy mental and physical space, especially here in 2020. And also, make sure that YOU are in a healthy mental, physical and emotional space as well.
What led me to even write this was a conversation I had with a friend last week. We had the opportunity to hang with friends at a football game. It’s a rare thing but it was so nice to just chat in person. That said, the conversation of kids screen time came up and my first thought that spewed out of my mouth “I use to write all about how to limit screen time and now I don’t even really limit it.”
Talk about guilt and the feeling of hypocrisy and then realization.
Then I had a self talk. Self talks are good, especially in this 2021 haze of insanity.
It’s a crazy time. Things have shifted how we live, work and interact, INCLUDING screen time for kids.
With the new – changes have to be made.
So guilt and feeling of hypocrisy be gone.
It’s 2021 and we will just leave it at that.
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