Screen time and children (Includes FREE downloadable screen time schedule!)

Uncategorized Jan 17, 2019

Screen time can be a blessing and a curse. It is such a hot topic right now!

I have discussed this at length with one of Australia's leading developmental paediatrician and she believes that it is one of the biggest issues facing our children today!  Children with ADHD love screen time because it is often instant gratification and they easily hyperfocus on things that are interesting to them - and they are usually very interested in screens!

I am actually pro screen time, because it often encourages our kids to be social (with their friends online) and it gives us a moment to get other things done.   However, I am guessing your kids don't like being told that they have to come off devices and find it hard to pull out of their hyperfocus (mine too!).

We need to set clear boundaries for how much screen time is allowed and stick to them. 

So let's have a look at this.

What is screen time?

Screen time can be:

  • interactive - video games, communication apps like Skype, art applications
  • not interactive - watching movies, TV programs or YouTube videos
  • educational – doing maths homework online
  • recreational – playing games or watching videos for fun.

How much screen time is recommended for my child?

How do we know how much screen time our children are getting?

Easy!  Just download the below document (and print one copy for each child).  Pop it on your fridge or somewhere handy.  Before they can turn on any devices (I have secret passcodes on everything) they have to ask me and sign in with the time on the attached form.  

>>> Download your free screen time schedule here! <<<

We then agree on the amount of time they can use it for (this will depend on their age (see picture above) and our schedule.  I set a timer on my phone for that amount of time. When the time is up, we complete the attached form by adding 'time off'.

This is the easiest way to ensure your child isn't getting too much screen time.  If you set the expectation and timer with your child before they use the device they are much less likely to have a meltdown when you ask them to come off the device.  If your child struggles to come off the device, due to hyperfocus, you may find it beneficial to give them time alerts when the time is nearly up '5 mins to go buddy, 2 mins till device is off, 1 min' etc.

What can our children do to replace screen time?

Ahhh exactly what we did as kids... remember?  Get your child outside!  It is absolutely wonderful for their mood and releasing some of that energy.  Here is a list of some other cool things to do.  You might like to write them down and put them in a jar so if your child says they are bored you can direct them to an 'Ideas Jar' for inspiration.

  1.  Cooking, depending on the age of your child you might be able to let them make something independently.  I sometimes set my 9 year old the challenge to make something easy all by himself. I pre-measure everything for him and write out clear, simple instructions.  For younger children you could prepare something with them.
  2. Reading (a real book)
  3. Playing board games
  4. Going for a walk or bike ride
  5. Cleaning
  6. Drawing
  7. Building a Fort
  8. Planning the dinner menu
  9. Watering the garden
  10. Walking the dog
  11. Checking the mail
  12. Writing in a journal
  13. Playing outside
  14. Inviting a friend over
  15. Painting with water colours
  16. Play-doh
  17. Puzzles
  18. Go on an adventure, the skate park or pump track are great for our boys.
  19. Talk! Tell your children a story about you when you were their age.
  20. Play with a water play table or sand pit.
  21. Lego

You can ask your child to come up with ideas to put in the ideas jar.

You might like to start using an InChargeBox to lock away devices! Head over to and use the discount code FF at checkout to receive 15% off!

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