4 Tips for creating a screen-time contract for the new year

As summer break nears its final days and I see the fall frenzy of school-and-everything-else schedules coming my way, I am preparing for the transition. As I envision the back-to-school scene for our family, I know we have a lot of adjustments to make to get ourselves into “fall mode.” Amidst considerations around supplies, extracurriculars, transportation, and meals is of course…managing screen time.

Last year’s rules fit us pretty well. Summer rules incorporated our summer lifestyles. But this fall — kids are a year older, among other things. I have to consider, have their screen-based interests evolved or changed? How are school demands different? Have my views changed?

Some things remain the same. I still want them to get enough sleep and have enough uninterrupted time for homework. I want them to have time and motivation for creative and athletic involvements, family, and friends. I want to support them in practicing habits that build self-control. You can see Tessa's latest contract here. We also created a template to help you jumpstart an agreement.

So as I consider the conversation our family will be having to get this all sorted out, here are some conversation starter ideas for all of us:

  • What screen time rules worked well for us last year?
  • Are there any screen time rules that we should consider adjusting this school year? Why?
  • How do you feel about balancing screen time and other commitments, goals and responsibilities this year?
  • What will be helpful to you in managing screen time? What will be challenging to you around managing screen time?