Summer Screen Time Wars


Well, it's summer, moms and, yay?

I hope you enjoyed your full two seconds of rest because here it comes. You guessed it... The epic quest to battle to defeat (or at least survive) taking on the blue screen monster that attempts to take over our kids faces ALL SUMMER LONG.

(Stay out of this, Kid Rock, no one is talking to you.)

If you are even remotely attempting to limit you kids' screen time, or say ask them to come up for air long enough to do something crazy like eat or shower, you may just find yourself branded the enemy.

I mean seriously, does anyone else feel like they are trying to wrestle a rotisserie chicken away from a pitbull?

The nerve.

How DARE we attempt to limit their screen time? It's not like we're the adults who pay for the roof over their heads, their food, their phone, the internet, the playstation...

Oh, wait. Yes. We. Freakin'. Do.


If you are setting rules and boundaries for your kid you are doing a great job.


According to New York Times best selling author and psychologist, Dr. Lisa Damour, Ph.D., children need both affection and structure in order to develop into secure, happy adults. BUT if parents can only provide one, it should be structure, says Dr. Damour, who just happens to specialize in adolescent girls, like yours truly. I agree with her 100%. Incidentally, she's also the author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood, which I highly recommend.

Okay, listen up, this is important.

Don't let your kid's reaction to your good parenting be your barometer for success or failure.

You aren't trying to impress them, you're trying to mold them into intelligent, empathic, capable, and successful enough adults so that they don't live with your forever. 


The summer can be tough. Some kids have a ton of activities, others less. They all have some perverted sense privilege that entitles them to unlimited screen time. We need to give that big ole' lie a one way ticket back to Reality Land.

We're tired. You're tired. I'm tired. Regardless, we can't let the summer slide happen.

Slip and slide? Yes. A slide into no-consistent-rules-Lord-of-the-Flies-pandemonium? No.

We relax the rules because we desperately need the break and then August/September is a horror show when we try to reinstate rules that went the way of the Dodo all summer. It's a no-go and makes for a heck of a crappy start to the new school year.

So, brainstorm some boundaries mixed with fun and freedom for the summer. Come up with a check list, or even a family contract, and stick to it.

In the spirit of full disclosure:

Yes, my tweens have phones. (Don't judge me.)
Yes, I limit their screen time. (Yes, I'm okay with being the bad guy, most of the time.)
Yes, it is still a battle. (Think Thunderdome)

I mean, heaven forbid we suggest they, GASP, read an actual book.

This summer in our house we are going to do a minimum of 1 hour of reading, review math, and spelling/grammar, and chores every day before anyone better DARE touch their phone...or face the life-altering consequence of not being able to use electronics for the rest of the day. Repeat offenders will lose them for a week.

So...basically the death penalty for tween/teenage girls. (Insert evil laugh here.)

You don't need me to tell you what the boatloads of research says, but I'll say it anyway. Setting rules and boundaries for your kids is healthy. It teaches them self-discipline, keeps them safe, makes them healthier, and teaches them to cope with uncomfortable feelings like disappointment. Mostly, limits show our kids that we care.

So parents, if you kid does have a phone, tablet, TV, video game, or some other electronic overlord fighting you for control, don't be afraid to create an over the summer contract. Define the rules and STICK TO THEM. Lock that stuff away until reading happens, chores are complete, messy rooms are cleaned, dishwashers emptied, whatever.


Your kids might say you're "mean" or "unfair," but as a character in one of my favorite movies said, "If your kids are mad at you, you must be doing something right."

(Movie: Dan In Real Life. See it. See it now.)


Hang in there, parental units. You got this.

#parenting #screentime #rules#tweens #teens #screentimelimits#summervibes #summerrules#teenmom #tweengirls #tweenmom


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!