With summer vacation looming ahead I’ve been trying to figure out how to limit screen time for the boys while still keeping the peace in our home. These Free Printable Screen Time Charts help kids learn that electronics have a place in their day, while encouraging them to finish chores and try other activities as well. I don’t want electronics to be a constant argument between us – I love them too, after all. I’m guilty of spending too much time on my phone, and my work dictates that a laptop is always nearby. I love to unwind catching up on my favorite DVR’d shows. So, I try to be understanding when it comes to the kids and electronics – it’s fun and instantly gratifying, why wouldn’t they want to play?
The biggest difference between me and my kids? I’ve learned how to prioritize. I’ve learned that my kitchen won’t clean itself and that someone has to feed all these people or they will riot and begin to live off of pop tarts. So I’m taking a new approach this summer. Rather than limiting screen time “because it turns your brain to mush”, I’m hoping to teach the boys about responsibility and learning to prioritize. I don’t mind if they look forward to playing Minecraft or watching those Youtube videos where they open the Kinder eggs, as long as they know that screen time has a place in their day, and it’s not right after breakfast.
This Free Printable Screen Time Chart helps give kids control over their own reward. By filling up the thermometer they are getting a visual reminder of the tasks they need to complete, and a full bar gives them a sense of accomplishment. My seven year old is a very visual learner, and this chart has really helped keep him on track. It allows him to be accountable to himself and gives him a reminder without having me nag at him, so at the end of the day we’re all calmer and happier. It’s also great to be able to say “Look at this chart, look at all the great things you’ve done today!”. I included the tasks I use with my boys, but I’ve also made a blank chart that you can customize yourself! I use the blank charts for special days, like if I need my preschooler to work on some letter and number worksheets, or if my seven year old has a school project to work on over the weekend. I use the screen time charts along with my printable behavior chart to give the boys plenty of visual cues throughout there day, and that really makes a difference in how they work and react.
To use them just print out the pdf file. I like to laminate mine so that the kids can fill them out with dry erase markers and erase them for the next day, but you can also use a small clothespin or paperclip attached to the side of the paper, and just tell your child to slide it up as they make progress – or just print out a few and use crayons!
So what are you waiting for? Download the printables now for free, then head on down to the comments and let me know what your biggest technology related challenge is as a parent.