Setting Screen Limits For Kids
My 11-year-old son isn't very happy with me. One of my New Year's resolutions was to somehow try to get a hold on his screen time, especially when it comes to Fortnite.Left unchecked, it's not unusual for him to come home from school, do his homework (yes, I can't complain, he really does his homework without me hounding him), then run upstairs to play Fortnite. If I get busy and don't kick him off, he'll stay up there for hours and hours playing until his eyes cross.
If I step in and tell him to get outside and shoot some hoops, he will, but only if I prompt him. The problem is that I don't always encourage him.
I decided to put screen limits on his Xbox account. My wife and I decided on a 90-minute limit on weekdays and a two-hour-per-day limit on weekends. Initially, we also had those limits include his iPad and laptop, but he made a compelling case that they were needed for homework, so we compromised.
He was pretty upset when we broke the news to him--and I'm not going to lie, I felt bad. He's a great kid. I explained to him that this wasn't a punishment, but that we were doing this because we care so much about him. Honestly, it sounded like something MY dad would say when I was a kid. I told him that he was too good of a kid to have parents that didn't get involved in this and re-balance his activities. He deserves to have someone looking out for him like that.
Today was day one of the screen limits. I felt bad as he climbed the stairs to go play his game. I knew that it would probably rob him of some of the free joy of playing, knowing that there was a countdown clock standing over his shoulder.
He actually handled it well. He played Xbox for about 45 minutes, then he grabbed a basketball and asked me if I wanted to go outside and play HORSE.
One day down. This parenting thing is not easy.
We talked to Dr. Jason Reynolds from Wareham Pediatrics about how to set screen time limits. Listen here: