With electronics ever-present in our homes, schools, and offices, unplugging can be a challenge, especially for kids. However, learning to manage screen time instead of being managed by a screen is an increasingly important skill to learn. Here are a few ways you can help your child to keep their screen time under control.

Work Together to Set Clear Expectations

Clear expectations are a must, but your child is more likely to stick to the rules if they helped to create them. Depending on your child’s age and level of maturity, you may want to lay out two or three options for them to choose from, or facilitate an open family discussion to determine appropriate expectations for screen time.

Stick to the Rules

Every family situation is different, but consistency is key. Whether you’ve decided to manage screen time by eliminating electronics from bedrooms or setting a time limit, it’s important that you and your children hold each other accountable to stick to the rules. Yes, that means that when you’re setting expectations, you should set expectations for your own screen time as well. Your kids will be much more willing to follow rules if you do too.

Find Replacements

Nature abhors a vacuum, and kids abhor boredom. Make a plan for creating other activities that can take the place of screen time. If evenings are when most of your screen time takes place, choose a night for family games or an outing. For young children, try a special box of toys, playdough, and other favorites that can replace passive screen time for something more interactive.

Whichever plan you and your children come up with, you can feel good about the fact that you are teaching them important tools for mental health and relationships by helping them to manage their screen time.