Start Before The Holidays
The first thing to do is set expectations. As we all know a little too well, kids tend to construe even minor changes, especially changes they prefer, as the status quo. If you take some time, before you loosen the restrictions up, to explain that this isn’t going to be how it is going forward, and why, there will be fewer tears and fewer arguments.
Maintain Some Rules
While we might treat our screen time like our diet over the holidays, it is important to maintain some rules. Older kids especially will likely have homework over the break, so sit down with their lesson plans and work out set amounts of time during the day when the screens are off and the books are open. You may also want to set some expectations around chores and housework, to “fill in” what would normally be homework time, because you’ll need the help.
Extra Screen Time Is A Privilege
Another point to consider is that this is a privilege, and taking away some or all screen time is definitely on the table. Especially if kids misbehave, it’s important to get your point across. So make it clear that this is something that’s up to your discretion, and if they break the rules, they’ll have to deal with the consequences.
Start The Week Before
One way to make it easier on everybody is instead of an abrupt change, to ease your kids back into their school routines. Don’t do this with just screens, of course. Do it with sleep schedules, meal times, chores, and other aspects of family life that you need to get back on track. It’s not only good for them, it’s good for you; not having to suddenly rush everybody when the first school day comes will be a lot less stressful and a lot more fun for everybody.
Have Plenty To Do
Another way to keep screens from becoming a problem over the holidays is to have more stuff for kids to do. Especially with free time in the winter, make room to do things like play outside, explore the outdoors, go to movies and events, head to museums you’ve wanted to go to, and to otherwise enjoy and explore where you live with your family. Inside the house, make a point of family time. Make Christmas cards, have family game night, watch movies together, and do all the things you want to do during the year but may not always have time to during the week.
As you can see, screens don’t have to be one problem after another. By thinking ahead, setting standards and rules, and sticking to them, your kids will get back into their normal routines with ease. Need help with tablets and phones? Sign up for Screen Time.