Post by MamaCrossroads on Feb 20, 2018 15:20:58 GMT
Feb 18, 2018 18:50:14 GMT Mama Wozzy said:Hi! I'm a mom of 5 awesome kids and wife to 1 hard working husband. I find it hard to keep up with all the demands of mom life without using some form of digital media to keep my kids busy while I get things done. I have 4 year old special needs twins who just want me to hold them while I'm cooking dinner or helping my older kids with homework. The evenings are the hardest time for me and I'm guilty of using screen time as a babysitter for them. I know I need to create more limitations on electronics for all my children on their usage to protect them. But I need the limitations to not add to my already full plate. I'd love advice or resources on how to limit my children on their screen time in a way that does not require a lot of monitoring or reminding them on my part. Looking forward to being part of this community!
We hear you Mama Wozzy! Balancing kiddos and screen time is never easy. But 5 kiddos! And 4-year-old twins with special needs? That's an especially tall order!
First of all, you are AMAZING! Remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself a little credit. You are doing great things. Your kids are lucky to have a mom who really cares and who is concerned about these things.
Second, don't feel guilty! We live in a digital age and screens are part of the deal. As moms, we just have to figure out a good balance. It will take time and practice, and probably a little trial and error before you get that right. But don't sweat it. You care! That is the most important step, and you're already there. We'll help you with the nuts and bolts.
Here are a few tips and resources that we recommend:
-(Most) Kids Thrive on Structure. As a mama, you probably already know this, right? Kids like to know what to expect. We've found that the same goes for screen time. So try to sit down with your family and talk about your routine. Where does screen time fit? Are there set times and places that you want to allocate for screens, or those that are absolutely off limits for screen time. Talk about it, and set up some guidelines. Write them down, if that helps, just like you would with other family rules and schedules.
-Create a Household Media Guideline. We are currently working with Educate and Empower Kids to create a FABULOUS worksheet for families to help this process. All you have to do is sit down and fill it out together as a family. A simplified version is included at the back of their children's book, coming out later this month, Petra's Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure. We will probably be doing a drawing for this book soon, so stay tuned! We highly recommend all of EEK's resources: educateempowerkids.org
-Make them Earn It! We've talked about setting blocks of screen time that are part of the family routine. But If you are ok with your kids having a little extra, set it up as an incentive! We have a ticket jar at our house. Each ticket is worth either screen time or money. (For us, it's either 50 cents or 15 min of screen time, but you can play with the increments of course.) The boys earn tickets by doing chores or having good behavior. I have found packets of awesome, color-coded tickets at the dollar store. But you could also use beads, macaroni, or anything else that will fit in a jar.
-Make Screen Time Purposeful. I'm sure this is obvious, and you are probably already doing it! But there are so many great things we show and teach our kids with technology. As parents, we want to move beyond "Don't do that" with tech, to show our kids the amazing things they can do too, like serving others and finding unique educational opportunities. There is a great hashtag trending along these lines: #UseTech4Good. Check it out for ideas.
-Set Tmers so You Don't Have to Be the Bad Guy! Lots of apps, mobile devices, and computers have ways that you can go through parental controls and set timers that count down and shut off automatically so you don't have to give that dreaded "5-minute warning!" I love this! When the timer is done and the device shuts off, that is that! And the kids move on. You can always use an old-fashioned egg timer next to the kids or set one on the microwave. We've tried that too ... but I find it more effective to find the ones that actually shut off the device when the time is up!
-Tech for Special Needs. I was recently reading about how tech is being used in the educational sphere to custom fit kids with special needs--that they are now able to reach children in unique ways and help them progress in ways that they have never been able to do before. Tech is good! We just have to focus it in the right directions. Right? I will see if I can find that article for you!