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Mom to Mom: How much is too much?

I run a local Facebook moms’ group and the question of screen time pops up fairly frequently. How much is too much? Educational only? What about SpongeBob? 

For the record, my children, ages 3 to 12, have never been allowed to watch SpongeBob in my presence. But that’s not the point.

Much like any other parenting debate, 50 different mothers will have 50 different responses to answer how much is too much. Some don’t allow any screen time for their children before the age of 10. Others freely give screen time without batting an eyelash. And of course, 48 other replies fall in the middle.

I’m a middler myself. My kids don’t get screens in the morning because then they’d never get ready for anything ever again. But after school, if their homework and chores are done, I let them play on their devices with pre-approved, occasionally educational apps. They are closely monitored and all devices shut down automatically at bedtime. Yes, even for my middle schooler. 

As a work-at-home-parent, the kids watching DinoTrux on Netflix or playing games on their tablets means I can work for a few minutes during daylight hours. Or make dinner. Or occasionally, take a nap. 

Summer rules are a little different. We make sure our kids have a set amount of time of creative play, outdoor time, reading and chores before the screens take over. And when I feel like they’ve glazed over enough, off they go.

Each family is different. What works for us might not work for you. The kids might not like that their friends claim to have unlimited screen time, but they’ll get over it. As long as your family is using screens responsibly, setting limits (or not) to what works for your family is all that matters.