Are My Kids Getting Too Much Screen Time? Probably.

But does it really matter? Especially when we’re ALL sheltering-at-home during this COVID-19 Pandemic? I mean, sometimes you just have to chuck out your old, standby house rules when your routines get all out of whack due to unforeseen circumstances. “You improvise, you overcome, you adapt.” It’s what makes us human, right?

I know that in our home we try to limit our children’s screen time, especially for the younger two who have no clue how to monitor their consumption and end up being tech zombies by the end of the night. I only know this because there have been a handful…or more…of times when the husband was working late, and I just needed a break and the TV or iPad made a suitable sitter. (Raise your hand if you’re an introvert!) So, under normal circumstances, the kids only get screen time in the evenings if they have finished their tasks (school work, chores, etc.) by the time I start making dinner. And no, I don’t have my kids help me in the kitchen at dinner time. I love cooking, it’s my therapy along with gardening, and I cannot unwind if they are in there with me. But once the big kid turns 9, I will have him help a couple times a week, just not everyday. Mama needs a break!

So, what are we doing now that we’re stuck at home? Yes, I know we can go outside and hike or walk or go for a bike ride, but we’re not going to art or science classes, Ninja Zone, field trips, park days, museums, and more. Homeschoolers are busy folk! Now that we are home for the majority of the time, I. Need. Breaks. I don’t know about you, but I treat homeschooling and being a stay-at-home mom as my career and therefore I need a minimum of two 10-minute breaks and AT LEAST an hour for lunch. We already watch YouTube videos during lunch, usually based on whatever science or history we are studying, but now with the shelter-at-home mandate we have been hosting a Minecraft PowerHour (which often times last way more than an hour) on the oldest kid’s realm after we eat. He can have up to 9 friends in his realm, and my husband and I can easily monitor what they are doing and saying. Best investment ever! (Even though I had originally planned, pre-pandemic, on canceling the subscription at the end of the month due to lack of play.) While the big kids are having fun on Minecraft, the little one will watch some Netflix, and I try to fit a workout in as well as some screen time for myself.

However, I already know that after we as a nation flatten the curve for COVID-19 (fingers crossed) and get “released” from our homes, my kids and I will all need a little tech detox time. Those first few days are always so brutal, but once we’re back down to limited screen time, the kids and myself will be way less moody and much more productive. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been spending a heck of a lot more time on social media now than usual.

What changes have you made to your child’s screen time? Do you do tech detoxes, too?