Parenting 101: Managing Kids and Screen Time at Home and Away

Move over bedtimes, potty training, and breast feeding, one of the most controversial parenting topics is proving to be the most worrisome of all – managing kids and screen time.

Parenting 101: Managing Kids and Screen time at Home and Away

Parenting 101: Managing Kids and Screen time at Home and Away

Like most couples, my husband and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on this topic so navigating our daughter’s screen time is far from easy. While I would much prefer her to be playing with her toys or friends instead of staring at a screen (which is clearly addictive), there is definitely a time and place for electronics. Here’s how it typically works in our house…

Kids and Screen Time – During the school year:

We enforce a no screen time rule before school and after school while she completes her homework and chores. Depending on her day, I’ll let her watch up to an hour of television and play on my iPhone for a little while to get her Instagram fix. I find that the television is easy enough to turn off but taking the iPhone away is another story. On weekends, the rules relax and she begs for as much screen time as possible. I’m happy to sleep in while she and my husband enjoy their screen time but I do find her behavior to be less than optimal after too much screen time.

Kids and Screen Time – During the Summer and Vacations:

I’ll admit that the summer is a bit of a free-for-all. If she reads a book, I will reward her with tablet or TV time if we aren’t going anywhere. When we travel, the rules go out the window and she can have as much screen time on the plane or drive as she wants. She gets car sick so she tends not to over do it on car rides but on the plane, she will watch TV (thanks Jet Blue!) and play with her tablets for hours on end. And now that some hotels put TVs in bathrooms, my daughter’s negotiation skills are sharper than ever. I enjoy the break during our travels but again, I notice that her behavior deteriorates and her crankiness increases with too much screen time.

For me, dealing with the “aftermath” of screen time isn’t worth the “free time” so I tend to discourage it and this is probably why we enjoy running around the city so much. I also find that when I take the time to sit and play a game with her or let pretend to be the teacher or doctor while I play student or patient, she is thrilled.

If you’re trying to navigate your child’s emotional and physical well being, I highly recommend checking out the new Genius of Play video campaign. These videos feature parents discussing some of the most controversial topics surrounding play – including recess, whether or not kids should play unsupervised and of course how much screen time is too much…

Here’s what some parents are saying on these topics:

At the end of the day, everything in moderation seems to be the best way to go but I will always encourage my daughter to play outside and on play dates whenever I can.

How much screen time do your kids get at home and on vacation?  Tell me below in the comments.


Thanks to The Toy Association for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. If you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to Globetrotting Mommy for daily updates!


  1. Since the world is moving as such a fast pace, it is really hard to make the right call. Too much video is horrible but then it is almost impossible to get children to see the fun of just being outside. It is frustrating to some older parents who feel children should be able to entertain themselves too.