5 Creative Ways to Limit Screen Time for Kids

We are all aware, if only by instinct and a bountiful supply of mommy guilt, that kids are spending way too much time in front of the screen. So you are here for advice on how to limit screen time for your kids in healthy balanced way.

Cell phones, TV, YouTube…oh my! The screen is king in this day and age. The list of attractions are endless and the amount of time kids are spending with tablets, video games, social media, Minecraft is embarrassing.

The truth is, this is now becoming the social norm for children and adults alike. Studies have shown that adults are spending more than half their waking hours on some type of device.

First, here’s a couple of stats about screen time use in children, to put things into perspective:

The Cold Hard Statistics

According to Michigan Medicine of the University of Michigan, the average child between 8 and 12 will spend on average 6 hours each day using electronics while children aged 2 to 5 clock in an average of 32 hours per week in front of a screen (i.e. video games, wating TV or television, videos, iPad).  Ouch!

Toddlers and younger children are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of excessive screen time. For that reason, the AAP recommends that children aged 18-24 months avoid all screen time with exception to video chats. Between 2 and 5, the amount of screen time should be limited to just 1 hour per day and parents should try to lead by example and spend less time on devices as well. 

5 Clever Ways to Limit Screen Time for Children

I don’t think I need to go into too much depth about the negative effects of screen time on kids and the social and developmental impact it has on them. We know deep down it’s wrong. Again, the mommy guilt is abound with infinite supply.

Let’s be real here. None of us are perfect, and if you are a non-Supermom, like me, there are times of desperation that we will inevitably give in to it.

Don’t get me wrong, we all wish we could be that mom and implement zero electronics usage at home, but it’s not always practical in real life. Think dinner desperation hour, or the dreaded doctor’s appointment where you need them to hold still and be quiet for a while.

I have put together this handy list of 5 clever ways to limit screen time for children that will make us all feel a little better about ourselves and our children’s well-being.

Tip 1 – Do as I Say and Do

You are the epicenter of your children’s world but unfortunately you may be wasting away a lot of time on your phone or television, and your kids know it. It can become an addiction very quickly, that may have a negative impact on your relationship to your family. If you are serious about making this change and avoid going down that rabbit hole, you will need to become a shining example to your kids and place healthy limitations on your use. One way to do this is to schedule in screen-free activities for yourself, such as reading a book, listening to music, exercise, or even gardening. You may also establish household rules limiting device usage on everyone at certain times or places. For example, you may decide not to text in the car (as a passenger since you would never text and drive).

Tip 2 – Time to Unplug

I’m not purposely trying to pick on you mama, but this is another way you can practice being a healthy role model in terms of device use. Set aside specific places or times where the entire family unplugs. Instead dedicate that space to really connect and spend quality time together.

For example, you can unplug during dinner time and have everyone sit at the table together. Encourage everyone to talk about their day. If you feel there is a need for inspiration, try passing around a jar with conversation starter ideas written on popsicle sticks or scraps of paper.

Another great time to turn off the phones, iPads, and TV would be an hour before bedtime. If you have young ones, dedicate that time to make bath-time special and then read a bedtime story. For for older kids, take the time to listen to their thoughts, or maybe bring out a family board game.

Tip 3 – Schedule Digital Detox Day

It can really help to schedule certain days with strict screen-free policy. I know you’re thinking, I’m trying to turn the family against you, you will become a monster, but just like the song, you’ve gotta’ be cruel to be kind. This may be just the thing, a digital detox to help combat that serious withdraw we all know about.

As a Jewish family, we have a digital detox day already built in as we do not use any electronics every Shabbat. You can decide what works best for your family, I promise you will be happy you did.

Tip 4 – Create a “Parking Lot” for Devices

Create a special basket or drawer where everyone agrees to store their devices during off-limit times. This will create a positive sense of togetherness, showing your child that the whole family is in it together.

Tip 5 – Screen Time Punch Card

Here’s the fun part. I designed a special screen-time punch card to help limit the amount of time your children are watching TV, cell phones, and video games. You can also use it to motivate your kids to complete their chores and self-care tasks before using their screen-time.

Since the number of allotments are limited to each card, it forces them to carefully consider how they will use it and hopefully learn to make better decisions instead of blankly staring at a screen for countless hours. For example, one 30-minute slot can equal one show.

I’m offering this to you FREE for personal use, click the purple button below to get it. Comment below to let us know all the clever ways you’ve successfully limited screen time with your family.

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About Annie

Hi, I'm Annie! I'm an engineer's wife and mom to 6 beautiful children, including twins. I love to learn everything I can when I'm not chasing down a stray child or two. I like being immersed in creative activities like playing violin, drawing illustrations, and designing baby shower printables.

June 12, 2019


  1. Danijela

    Thank you Annie, great post! I found it very useful because it gives concrete and creative examples of how protect children from over-looking at the screen. I consider this a big problem today because such children usually have health problems tomorrow, mostly with mental health. I remember what our childhood was like, a lot of games and activities and now, unfortunately, they do not want spend time outside the house… I think that parents do not work properly by giving the child a phone so that he would not cry or for some other banal reason. It’s a big mistake, but luckily they have sites like these. It’s nice what you’re doing, just keep going. Regards, Danijela

    • Annie

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this. I too make a point of getting the kids outside to practice imaginative play or jump around on the trampoline….though not without some resistance. Thanks again for your comment and good luck to you.


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