Spring Break: What's Your Screen-Time Plan?

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

The season of spring break is upon us. With it comes the issue of what to do with your unstructured days. Let’s face it, so often down time has become screen time.

Are you a goal setting family? Start out the week with a clear picture of what you want screen time to look like during the break. Then, ask your kids what are their goals for their time off. Get specific about screen time. Ask them what they would like to do on screens during the week, and how much time they think they’ll need. Together you can make an agreement that you both feel good about. Just having the conversation will get your kids thinking more realistically and less robotically about their devices.

You may want to have your kids help with chores and errands during the downtime. How do you get them to do things they don’t feel energized and motivated about? One woman I spoke with last week told me how happy she was when she realized how using screen time as a reward with her daughter worked so well to get her to practice the violin.

This is a very common, and often, effective scenario. Clean your room or do your homework or take out the trash … then you can have screen time.

Some, however, believe using screen time as a reward is not a good thing. The people at ReStart, the program for internet addiction that was featured in Screenagers, believe dangling screen time as a reward creates, even more, focus on screen time.

Here are some questions to discuss with your family about downtime and screen time:

  • What are your goals for your spring break week?
  • How much screen time would each person ideally like to have? How much screen time are you willing to approve?
  • What are some offline activities your kids would like to do this week?
  • How do you feel about using screen time as an incentive for doing things that are inherently not that fun?

This article originally appeared at screenagersmovie.com as part of a weekly blog, Tech Talk Tuesdays written by filmmaker and mom Dr. Delaney Ruston.