If this is a safe space, I have a confession: I love screen time for my kids. As a stay-at-home mom, it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to having a coworker, and when used strategically, I consider it the perfect tool for conquering lulls throughout the day. My sons are 10, four, and one, and simultaneously engaging kids with larger age gaps has its challenges.
However, intentionally placed screen time helps to alleviate some of those challenges, even freeing up time for myself for anything from a lunch break to a sanity check.
While screen time can be an aide, with summer just around the corner, NOW is the perfect time to establish a routine to ensure screens are not a crutch. You want to secure a complete and fulfilling day before a single power button is pressed.
Daily Schedule with Intentional Screen Time
• Wake up/breakfast
Full bellies to ensure the best possible outcome for the day.
• Get ready
Play your favorite music for the house and open the shades for morning light; this helps set the tone for the day while adding vitality. From this point no matter how the day flows, everyone is (usually) in good spirits and ready to go!
• Independent free play
An activity that can’t leave stains yet doesn’t require your assistance is best: LEGOs, magnets, etc.
This can be simple: the park or an errand or grander: a museum or play place. Switching the scenery away from home helps to keep morale high and the longing for screens low. If you need suggestions, check out our Guide to Summer in Dallas.
• Mind-stimulating activity
Ideally, a worksheet, coloring page, art, or science project. Head to my Pinterest for my tried-and-true favorites!
• Intentional or guided play
Board games, card games, or your little’s favorite pastime.
• Story time for little ears/reading break for independent readers
• Chores/clean up time
• Free play
• *Screen time*
We’ve established this is a safe space, so I’ll also admit that I’m a mom who heavily believes in going with the flow. I love how the first routine is well-rounded before any screens are in use, but life happens, energy levels shift, and ambitions can change.
Alternative Schedule with More Screen Time for Those “Off” Days
• Wake up
• Educational interactive screen time (e.g., tablet play)
• A “learning” episode of choice
• Worksheet or coloring page
• Free play
• Story/reading time
• Outing or guided activity
• Clean up
• *Free screen time*
The time your kid spends on electronics does not have to be a mindless zone-out that triggers mom guilt. Now more than ever, there’s endless apps, shows, and resources that are interactive, educational, mind-expanding journeys for all ages and interests.
Happy summer and happy screening. May these options help bring your days balance and peace. Good luck!