This seems to be a hot parenting topic, this screen time thing.
Honestly, I don't really think it's a big deal. But... I also am kinda in love with what we've worked out in regards to FireGirl's screen time. So here ya go.
FireGirl wasn't permitted to so much as look at a television until she was around 9 months old. If her head turned towards the flickering lights & sounds, we actually turned her head away & distracted her with a toy. Or a smile. Distraction is easy at that age.
That being said, the TV is on constantly at our house. I hate for it to be too quiet. But what this means is that it's not a thing we stare at and zombie out in front of. It's just background.
Which might explain why FireGirl has never had a thing for television. Oh, sure, she likes it. Has her favorite shows (currently Blue's Clues & Barney, but they change frequently). But... she might make it thru one entire 20 minute program a day actually watching the entire thing. More often than not she finds something she'd rather do, like play with the dogs, read, or draw. Or whatever.
The point being she doesn't spend much time actually watching television.
In fact, I can always tell when she isn't feeling well, or is really super-tired, because that is about the only time she'll zone out in front of the TV. And quite frankly, if that's the case, I don't really care.
Computer & SmartPhone (mine. Droid):
When FireGirl completes a chore or qualifying good deed (there's a matrix posted in the kitchen - things like helping with the chickens, good listening, picking up toys, etc), she earns a sticker for the matrix, and a purple ticket.
Purple tickets can be turned in for 15 minutes of computer or phone time.
Once she earns 6 stickers for a given item, she gets a pink ticket, which can be turned in for 30 minutes of computer or phone time, or the opportunity to buy a small toy at the store.
That is the only way she gets computer or phone time. Period.
Both are educational games only.
Computer is PBS, Sesame Street, Nick Jr, or StarFall games.
Phone is puzzle/reading or connect-the-dots/reading game that I've downloaded. Or scrolling thru my pictures & videos. Or taking new pictures. Or accidentally calling her aunt. Whatever.
Some days (like today), she has 3 purple and 1 pink ticket she can turn it. If she chose to turn them all in today, that would be quite a bit of screen time.
Other days, she has no tickets to turn in.
Oh, and tickets can also be taken away for bad behavior (mostly hitting mommy or lying).
Sure, I've been tempted to hand her my phone when I really just want need her to be quiet and/or sit still for JUST ONE MINUTE PLEASE!
But I know if I give in on that, then the reward system will never work.
And yes, there are days when I stretch that 15 or 30 minute boundary. Like when she was sick, and wanted to lounge around, and she sheepishly handed me a purple ticket with eyes that begged for computer time. Yeah, she got an hour that day.
But sick kids turn this mean mommy into a big softie.
So there's our screen time system.
What are your solutions to the screen time dilemma?