Over the past few years, we have been increasingly aware of the impact that screentime has on our children and part of that has driven our ethos behind Little Active People. But we are mums too and know it’s hard to get the right balance. Even harder when our husbands are not on the same page as us! We often find that if we are not around, then they have let the children sit and watch random programmes for hours, have given them a (daddy’s) phone to occupy them when they are drying their hair after a bath or sat at the dining table. If you’re like us, we find it frustrating as we have to deal with the consequence! Tired, grumpy, moaning children sound familiar? The problem was though that our nagging and complaining at our husbands to make a change didn’t work! Have a look at these steps we took to get on the same page as each other:
- Take a step back and remember that unless you have very similar backgrounds, it is only natural that you both don’t see eye to eye on how much screentime your children should have.
- Don’t nag your partner. Whilst you may have all the current knowledge on the impact of screentime and what is recommended (take a read of our blog on Screentime – What’s right for your family), they are very unlikely to get on board with your way of thinking if you just nag and complain.
- Understand their point of view. Chat through why they let the children have more access to screentime than yourself. Do they like playing video games and want to do this with the children? Do they like watching sport and think it’s great bonding time? Do they like to relax on their phone or watch TV and so just let the children do the same? Do they want their children to be tech savvy? Are they not strong enough to deal with the fallout of saying ‘no’ to screentime? Did their upbringing mean that this was their norm (e.g. allowing screentime at the table, at a restaurant etc.)?
- Work out a family schedule. Try some time off from the screens and fill in with a regular family board game time, outdoor activity or getting your partner to help with homework. Or rethink about when the screentime is allowed – instead of a late night watching the football, watch the Match of the Day highlights together the next day or schedule in playing the video games together until the afternoon when homework or chores have been completed.
- Lead by example. If your partner was always allowed screentime when they were growing up, they might not be aware of other things to do. Start introducing other ways in which they can entertain the children without automatically going to screentime. Play hangman whilst out having dinner, get them to read a book whilst drying their hair or show them the various craft or colouring options you have at home. If they are not confident in saying no to the children or don’t want to deal with the fall out from saying no, talk them through some ways in which you set expectations and follow through and offer them support and encouragement when they try your methods themselves!
Thank you for reading and hope that by working through these ideas, that your partner will see your children being happier and more cooperative and will therefore want to work on the same page as yourself. We have started on this journey ourselves and whilst we have a way to go, we feel that we are working together better as a team so we wish you the best of luck!
Jemma & Gill xxx
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