If you have kids, they're going to want screen time, whether it's TV, ipad, phone, pc, or video games. We can probably all agree that there is such a thing as too much screen time, but our ideas about this and our children's ideas about it can be very different.
Let's face it, almost any limitations you set on screen time are going to be met with resistance from your kids. What to do?
Here's a simple strategy:
First, be fearless.DO NOT cower in fear of your children's displeasure; tantrums, accusations (you never let me do anything I want!), and various other forms of drama should be expected.
Remember who you are: you are the adult, the parent. You are the person who will be held responsible for how you bring up your kids, BUT you are also the person who actually carries the authority to do this. Step into that role.
Decide what you really believe about how you want your kids to spend their time, and what believe is appropriate for YOUR kids. Don't compare your kids or your situation with other families; also, realize that you may have a different plan for different kids in your family, and that's okay.
Once you've decided on how you want to handle it, write it down. You can put it on a calendar, create a chart, or whatever works best for you, but write it and POST IT on the fridge or some other prominent place. If you don't, you'll forget it, trust me on this.
Call a family meeting and in as few words as possible, make it clear that 1) you are responsible to God for how you bring them up, 2) how we spend our time really matters, and 3) because of this, you've set these guidelines--then explain your rules.
Have an arsenal of alternatives to offer in place of screen time. If your children are used to a lot of screen time, you need to realize they may go through a kind of withdrawal--it's going to be a bit painful for you both. You'll be tempted to take the much easier route of giving in. Nevertheless, help them to remember other things they enjoy, and offer some new ones: take them to a craft store for kits of various kinds, let them create something in the kitchen, or subscribe to an audiobook platform.
None of this means anything if you don't follow up consistently. This means that there will be times when you turn off the TV, confiscate the phone, shut down the computer/ipad/video game in spite of the loud protests of your children.
You can do all of this in a loving and dispassionate manner, because you know it's really for the good of their souls.
And don't forget to practice what you preach! Set a good example by letting them see you read, listen to good music, engage in your own hobbies, play games with your spouse, enjoy your household responsibilities, enjoy going for walks, and more!
Your kids are so blessed to have you for their parents! Don't forget that! You're doing a terrific job, so don't let their natural resistance get you down or keep you from doing what you know is best for them!