Screen Time Out.

We like TV. I won’t pretend that we don’t. You know my affinity for some of the trash on TLC, it’s my guilty pleasure when I want to zone out and relax in bed after the billion things in my day.

We’re also a working family on a tight schedule. By the time we get home it’s close to 5:30 (if we didn’t make a quick trip to the grocery store) and the kids want dinner and all so I’ve got to get some form of food on their plates.  Feed the dogs, Ava usually has some dishes to unload, I throw some dishes in the dishwasher, stuff stuff stuff.

Luckily Ava has a fantastic after school program that includes an hour of time for them to do homework and have learning time.  Most of the time that means that when she gets home, so there’s no homework time required. Mostly, but not always. We always review the assignments and papers sent home for the day.


This leaves us a small window before bedtime. Allie goes to bed at 7:30, Ava’s bedtime is 8:00. Kids need sleep!

TV is one of those topics that many people are pretty opinionated about.  Many people ban it during the week, or like us they allow it but maybe on a modified schedule.

I don’t think tv is a bad thing.  I always watch the shows with Ava’s watching so I know what the topics are.  Recently on Austin and Ally the topic was bullying.  On Dog with a Blog (I know–it really is a dog with a blog) the topic was about the main character who wanted a social media account because all her friends had one but her parents wouldn’t let her.  I really appreciated those topics and was glad that we could talk about them.

I don’t mind that the girls get to unwind a little watching tv while they have dinner together.  Often we don’t get to eat with them because it’s too early for us but we always sit and chat with them about their days.  Each gets to watch one show.  Sometimes they don’t even get that if we get home late from dance class, errands or because there’s homework to get done.

Regardless, come 7:00 we have SCREEN OUT. There is no tv, there are no iPads, iPods, iPhones. NOTHING. No computers. No technology.  There’s coloring, reading, playing. Anything but screens in faces.

At first Ava balked. She hated it. The cries of how unfair it was! But now it’s a regular thing and I announce screen out and off she heads to start shower and get ready for 7:30 mandatory read time.  Yup, we have mandatory 30 minutes of reading time before bed. School requires 10, we require 30.

But screen time out is a good thing. So we don’t just do it at night.  When are other times we have screen time out?

  • On weekends–we have mandatory breaks throughout the day (when we aren’t doing other things or going out and about). There’s nothing wrong with tv, but I also don’t want them watching it for 6 hours straight.
  • When Ava goes on restriction. Let’s be real. Sending a kid to his/her room isn’t really a punishment. Unless the bedroom is a hole with nothing in it, that’s not really the hard life. Ava sits playing with her Barbies or Legos. What really hurts is taking TV or iPad away.   We have her get chores done, then she can get her creative juices flowing, whether that’s reading, drawing, coloring, she has to find an alternative.

It may sound loose, it may not.  But this works for us.  To each his own, right?

What do you have going on?


5 thoughts on “Screen Time Out.

  1. We’re a no weekday tech family. For now. I have visions of it changing in the next two years, but for now, this is what works. They played with friends today, then we went to dinner (PAYDAY!) and the library. They read when we got home from the library.

    I love 30 minutes of reading. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

    Good job, Mama. Do what works for your kiddos. It’s so important.

  2. We dropped cable years ago — so TV is Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or whatever I happen to have pirated and am streaming through a media server . . . and this means a LOT less “mindless watching,” because, for each thing, I can’t just turn on the TV & zone out, I need to actively choose what to watch.

    That said, my kids still binge watch TV and/or play video games. I’m trying to break things up — when we’re home all day, if the weather allows, I mandate trips to the park or a museum or a pool or ANYWHERE to keep the kids from zoning out in front of the TV all day. It’s usually effective, though if the weather isn’t cooperating, the weather isn’t cooperating. At night time, those nights I’m home (and those feel so few & far between these days . . . stupid schedule), no screens during dinner, then bath, then each child gets to pick one TV show (that they’ll both watch), then books, then bed.

    It doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s a start.

    • We aren’t a video game house. At least not on consoles. Which is ironic considering I was one of the dopes buying my husband a PS3 off eBay when they first came out.

      I really need to get more proactive at heading out. Seriously? I get so lazy. There’s no excuse here. We’ve got awesome weather and places galore.

      Goals. I’ll shoot for one good place away a day. That doesn’t involve groceries or errands.

  3. Idea! Goal! We eat dinner in the living room while watching a show (works for now since the baby is constantly on the boob) but we need to start turning it off earlier than right before bath. I think 6-7 screen, 7-7:30 legos/color/etc, 7:30-8 bedtime routine sounds good.

    • Yup. I think it’s pretty cool. I seriously don’t have a problem watching tv while we eat. Realistically, we just aren’t the family that chats while we eat. Wish I could say we were, but we aren’t. But dude, we rock it anyway. Right?!

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