The first step is to ask the parents of your children’s friends their house rules around screen time. Every house is different, and those differences usually have some fairly important reasons behind them. For example, some kids have hobbies like toy engineering or video game design these days, or they may be taking classes about computers and code, so they need a bit more access to screens to study.
Also, remember that parents aren’t out to undermine other parents. We just naturally assume, unless we’re told otherwise, that rules jump from house to house. We’ve all stumbled over a rule we weren’t told about, such as a limit on certain foods or your children’s friends not being allowed to watch certain TV shows or movies. So, before they head over, make sure you’ve been told the rules of their house and also make sure parents there understand what your rules are when their kids come over.
Talk It Over
Kids know the rules, and they also often know you know if they’re breaking them. This is why discussing the reasons behind the rules is particularly important when laying them down. If kids understand that the rules are there for their benefit, not because you just don’t like their Netflix habits, they’re a lot more likely to abide by them. Before they go to a house with different rules, remind them of why the rules are in place and talk about what they should do instead of staring at a screen.
Another trade-off you can do is simply to shift around the screen time available. If they want to go over to a friend’s to play video games, that means that when they come home, video game time is over with. Don’t forget, especially for when kids need to do homework with friends, that parental control software can, for example, allow sites needed for homework while blocking social media sites and games. So, if they’re going over to do homework, you can ensure they stay on task with a few clicks.
Limit Available Screens
One useful strategy, especially when your kids are going over for fun, not to do homework or work on tasks, is to exercise the ultimate in parental control software: Namely, telling them the tablet or phone stays in the house. Granted, this technique won’t make you the most popular, and it may not guarantee, entirely, that the screens stay off. But if it’s a concern, and the screens aren’t strictly necessary, there’s no reason to send them over.
Navigating other households and their rules doesn’t have to be tricky. With some good conversations, and good parental control software, you can send your kids over to a friend’s house confident they’ll stick by the rules. To learn more, try it for free.