Parent Talk: 3 Tricks for Winning the Screen Time Battle #AD

Back in June I talked about Shaw’s newest product the BlueCurve Home app and how it was helping with the tablet time battle in our home. I’m excited to report back on how connecting and pausing as a family. You can read about that here:

The Tablet Time Battle

It’s no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with screens. Clearly my job as a content creator has me on my phone for way too many hours in the day. Unfortunately my kids see that. It has been my parenting mission in the last year to strike a balance when it comes to technology in our home and especially when used by our kids. The countless articles I’ve read over the years on the internet have been linking excessive blue light exposure to some negative potential impacts. Although I’m no expert I’ve tried to be mindful of some of the potential impacts screen time can have on my kid’s health. From a disruption to the bedtime/sleep routine, to digital eye strain or retina damage and the impact it may have on early childhood development. Blue light does occur naturally but I’m referring to exposure to screens of all kinds: TV’s, phones, and tablets. I’m happy to report on this front, I feel like I’ve had some big successes in our household with our daily screen time battle. So I thought I’d share my Top 3 Mom Tricks for beating back screen time usage: 

1) Know Where You Are At: Tracking, setting alerts and seeing usage is the first step to finding balance in the home. We set a limit, let’s say 25 minutes on YouTube Kids. I set an alert on my Shaw BlueCurve Home app. When Alastair reaches his limit, I get an alert on my iPhone. Plus, the app tracks Wi-Fi usage per device/ person. So if Alastair gets hold of his tablet without me noticing, I can see that usage on the app and can adjust our day according to my goal for screen time consumption. 

2) Change It Up: I don’t think it’s just my kids but they get bored easily some days. They like to default to lazing around watching a movie or playing Minecraft on the tablet. With my blue light exposure goals in mind, I like to change up activity options every hour or so. I give them the option of two activities, so they can start feeling a level of independence in shaping their own leisure identity. Some activities this summer that have been working well for us: Neighbourhood walks, splash park trips, park trips, hikes in the river valley, colouring books, chalk art challenges, bike rides and trips to the library.  

3) Create a Screen Free Oasis: Out of sight, out of mind… at least that works with my little people at this stage. When my Shaw BlueCurve Home app alerts me that their time is up I just take the tablet and put it up high away from the kids. Now that they’ve grown accustomed to the timing system, they seem to understand their time is up and we are moving onto something new. But I can see the challenge of older children once they have a cellphone in the mix. The one feature that I know will come in handy when they get a bit older is the “Night Mode” on our Shaw BlueCurve Home app. I can turn off Wi-Fi to one or all devices at a specific time in the evening — then set the app to turn on at a specific time in the morning. I can see how that would help teenagers not check their phones constantly in the night. Or stay up late aimlessly scrolling. Hey! I even like it so I stop working on my phone and take a real break.

Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Shaw but my thoughts and opinions remain my own.