Should You Limit Screen Time When Kids Are Sick?

by Screen Time Team on 10/01/2018

Keeping Sanity

Nobody should dub you a bad parent because you didn’t limit screen time as much as normal. You can’t read Chicken Soup With Rice to your kids for five hours straight. You’ve probably got no end of things to do, both to treat your kids’ illness and to do around the house. You can’t help your kids if you’re going bonkers.

So, at points where you’re out of options, or just simply they don’t have the energy to do anything else, it’s OK to resort to a little screen time and give them the tablet and let them know you’ll just be in the next room. Sometimes they don’t have the energy, or you simply need them out of the way while cooking dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, or dealing with other household concerns. That’s not at issue. It’s simply a question of setting the right standards and enforcing certain rules.

The Rules Are Relaxed, Not Gone

Start by pointing out this is a special occasion, and this isn’t going to be the new normal. Then make it clear that you’re still going to limit screen time, no matter how sick they are. Especially if you’ve got the time to do other activities, you should still limit screen time, sit with them and pick out some activities.

This can be pretty much anything. You can read to them, or do simple crafting projects that occupy their time and take their minds off being sick. And, of course, if they begin drifting off or don’t have the energy to do anything else, you can put them to bed.

And there are some rules that simply aren’t negotiable. Bedtime is a good example, and it’ll probably be shifted earlier simply because getting enough sleep is the best sick fighter. Similarly, if you have rules about how long TV can be watched or video games can be played, those should still be in place. They should switch off from screens on a regular basis anyway if only to give themselves a break. Even with sick kids, the benefits of time limits on device use still apply.

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Similarly, if the new rules are broken, some punishments should still apply. Especially if kids are sick, they need to abide by rules about rest, they need to take their medicine no matter how nasty it tastes, and generally need to behave properly, within reason. There are some rules in the home that stand no matter how sick you get.

Nobody enjoys being sick, and it can be a challenge with an adult, let alone a child. But, with properly enforced screen time parental controls, relaxing rules where you need to, and working together, you and your children can get through any sick day. To see how Screen Time can help settle bedtime and homework issues, sick or not, try it for free!

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