We feel our kids get more than enough screen time and have plenty of opportunities to “chat” with their friends everyday so once a day (every night) they lose their electronics and take a break. I feel it is at least the most important time of the day for them to be electronic free and completely rest their brains.
We have instilled in them a policy that applies everyday of the year, no matter where we are. It simply defines when and where they can have access to their electronics and it’s not a free-for-all just because it may be a weekend (or a holiday or break) and we are at home and mom may be buried in the couch with a glass of wine, watching a Downton Abbey marathon. I can’t be everyone at once, people.
Our House electronics policy:
- No electronics after 8:00pm for the girls (10 & 12) and 9:00pm for our 15 year old.
- They are not allowed in their bedrooms.
- All electronics are to be docked downstairs in the charging tray every night.
We used to have an electronics drawer in our old house (that ended up looking like a tangled mess as well) so in the new house I needed a space to house our electronics, all of their accessories and all of those cords.
I decided this little area tucked beside the fridge was far enough out of site to not clutter my counters too much, but needed something to corral all this stuff in and thought a tray would be a good idea, because well, it’s a good excuse to buy a cute tray from Target.
We have been doing this since we first handed them electronics of any kind.
They can use them in common areas in the house but they are not allowed in their bedrooms. At night everyone docks them in “the tray”, where they charge for the night, so also, no excuses for not having a full battery the next day. Nobody is up late sneaking in screen time, snap chatting who knows what photos or cranky the next day (well, this doesn’t solve all the crankiness).
I am still amazed at how my son would be getting texts and messages throughout the night up until 2am at times! Why are these young minds glued to their electronics that late into the night and not getting their much needed sleep!
Of course my children aren’t angels. They’ve had a few slips here and there, but overall are generally consistent with following the rules.
We also have a 3 strikes you’re out policy.
You use your smart phone/iPod without using your head (in other words you screw up) and you lose the device for a specified amount of time. You break these rules 3 times you get a good old flip phone. For keeps. The purpose of our children having a device is so WE can contact them and vice versa. It’s for our convenience. Not theirs. Not so that they can send questionable photos on snapchat or have secret conversations with others through apps or even be able to listen to their iTunes. Heck if they want to do that I have a boom box from the 80’s I can lend them – parachute pants not included.
It has simplified any question of having electronics in their bedrooms, using them late at night and having a battery die halfway through the day.
We have a password policy as well – we get their passwords or they don’t get their device.
If we are not able to go into their phones/iPads/Kindles and see what they are doing then they don’t get to use them.
It may be seem harsh to some and this tray may look like a chaotic mess but at least I can rest at night knowing my kids are cozily tucked into their beds fast asleep.