Screen (and Scream!) Time Thoughts from The Real Housewives of Loudoun County

“Screen time” is a pretty heavily debated issue in the parenting world, with as many thoughts on the issue as there are screens in front of our kids’ faces. Schools are using the devices more, leaving many parents to wonder why limiting screen time even matters, while others forbid any devices in the home unless they’re needed for homework. Wherever you stand on the “screen time” debate, its always interesting to get the opinions of other parents, so we went to The Real Housewives of Loudoun County to see how they handle the screens (and screams!) in their everyday lives.

How do you approach “screen time” with your kids?

Rachael: I’ll admit we use screen time, computer, kindle, phone & TV as a distraction to let us get some things done around the house. For our 10 year old, over the summer, we implemented a new rule of reading for electronic time. He had to read a chapter in an age appropriate book for 30 min of time. He’s a minecraft junkie so he was eager to read! Our 3 year old knows how to use my iPhone better than I’d like to admit, but it makes my grocery shopping and doctors appointments go a little more smoothly so I’m not opposed to letting him play learning games and listen to music! There are only a few games, Apps, shows there are allowed to use and watch. We definitely keep a close eye on those things.

ticketKeaira: To handle screen time in our home I implemented technology tickets. We have three kids, ages 7, 5 and 1.5. I created a ticket and laminated it. Each child gets 10 tickets every Sunday afternoon. Each ticket is worth 30 minutes of screen time. If they want to watch t.v, play the xbox or ipad, etc. they know they need to give us a technology ticket. They are able to use them after they have completed their homework for the day. I do allow them to combine them if they want to watch a movie for example. However, they are very aware that when they are gone for the week, they are gone. I also created a few reward tickets that are each worth 30 minutes when they go above and beyond what is asked of them. We also have a chore chart and they each have their own responsibilities, with the exception of the baby. They know that if they don’t do their chores or they are fighting or misbehave in school, they will then lose a technology ticket. It has really worked for us. My oldest son, will say, “I only have six technology tickets left, I think I will just go outside and play so I don’t waste them!” As far as parental controls go I have them on the TV, Netflix, computer and even their DS’s. It can be irritating for me at times to put in a code so I can have access but it’s worth it if I know I am keeping my kids away from inappropriate content.
Kimmy: At my daughters’ ages (4&1), I have to admit, we don’t control “screen time” very much yet. My 4 year old started playing with the kindle at 2 years old, she loved angry birds, and now plays other games (some educational) but not for long periods of time. We have a lot of movie time, but she doesn’t watch TV shows that often. She’s VERY active and always playing outdoors, which we love. I’m sure when she reaches homework and cell phone age it will be a different story, and we will certainly be limiting screen time then!
What do you think about the great “screen debate” or parenting debates, in general? How do YOU approach screen time with your kids?
real housewives of loudoun county

Oh, the joys of parenting in a digital world – from online debates to the actual screens our kids use! Nobody ever said being a parent was easy, but, the RHOLC really make it look that way! Be sure to check back for more expert tips from this great group of women, and definitely check out the group on Facebook!

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