Screen Time Rules: Organizing Tips for Parents & Free Printable

A while back I introduced you to our Getting out of the House list, which works really well for us. Then I read about another list that a mom uses to eliminate the power struggle over screen time, and it really made sense to me.

organizing strategies for your kids screen timeImage copyright DepositPhotos.

If you say a kid only get 30 minutes (or whatever) of screen time each day, it is the forbidden fruit, and they will want to do that first in their day. They will always try to extend the time limit. Basically, it creates a power struggle.

On the other hand, if you front load the day with everything that needs to get done, once everything is checked off, I’m ok with my kid having as much screen time as she wants, with approved content, of course. Because really, if she completes everything on the list, there is only so much time left for screen time, which is pretty much how it works in the real world.

So that’s where this new list comes in. I completely ripped it off from another blog post before I realized I would be sharing it with you, and I really wish I could remember where I saw it. If this is your content, please claim credit in the comments!!! And in the same vein, please share this with anyone you think might like to use this. I feel like it should belong to all parents everywhere.

Absolutely No Glowing Screens until…

You have quietly read real printed text for at least 30 minutes
All your homework is done
You have marked the calendar with any upcoming tests or deadlines
You have done something creative, active, or productive for at least 30 minutes
Your bed is made and your room is tidy
You have done at least one chore (see chore list below)

And here’s the chore list. Pick a Chore:
• Vacuum downstairs or upstairs
• Put away your laundry
• Quick yard clean up
• Clean your room, including dust/vacuum
• Change and wash your sheets
• Do the dusting: At least two rooms
• Pickup party: Go through every room in the house and find everything that belongs to you that is out of place and put it away (shoes? books? coats?).
• Purging party: Find five to ten things (clothes, books, whatever) that belong to you but which you do not want or cannot use anymore; throw away or put them in the donate box
• Put away or load up dishes in the dishwasher
• Do the food shopping with Mom
• Do errands with Mom
• Water Plants

We’ve just been applying it since school got out, a little under two weeks, and my kids have amazingly had less screen time than ever and they’ve been happy about it. HUH?

I sat them both down and explained the list to them the first day of summer break. It must have seemed pretty reasonable to them. My little one, who doesn’t read yet, said, “That’s a pretty long list”, but when I explained that she only has to pick one of the chores of the list, she was cool with it. And if they run out of steam while they are working their way through the list? They usually default to the “quiet reading time with a real book.” Ok then. Everybody wins.

My oldest even added a couple of chore options to the original list, which I’ve now updated with pictures.

screen time rules with chore list

You might be surprised that this list is just taped to the wall with painter’s tape. (Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape, because it doesn’t harm the walls, but who’s name dropping?) It’s at the right height for the kiddos and is easily edited. Sure, I could put it behind a frame or mount it on a French bulletin board, but that wouldn’t improve the chance that it works for us.

And guess what? It works for us!

Let me know if you already do the same thing in your house or want to try this. Here’s the list, complete with little pictures for my non-reader, which you can download and edit for your own use. Just click on the link below to download the updated version with pictures.

Screen time rules printable

(click here for the editable download)     ABSOLUTELY NO GLOWING SCREENS UNTIL…



Do you think your kids know the rules for screen time? Do you have a printed list?



This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Michelle

    Darla’s psychic again. Jeff & I are debating how best to minimize screen time with school out. It’s a morning incentive to get them ready for camp, but once they come home exhausted, the struggle begins. Can’t wait to try this tomorrow!

    1. Darla

      Michelle, glad I could help. I was super surprised this actually worked so well for us. Funny but true, even after I put up the new revised version, my oldest wrote another chore option on the list. I guess she wants to be sure that she gets credit for all of her chores. Let me know how it works for your boys. I can’t wait to hear.

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