little girl watching phone easing. snack. text reads 3 tips to limit screen time

3 tips to establish screen time limits for your preschooler!

I am just going to come out and say it. Today I am “that mom” talking about screen time limits for preschoolers to strangers on the internet! I don’t know about you, but I have been in a season lately where I’ve needed to use screentime to get through the day. But with that excess screen time, I noticed my kids struggling to play a lot more than usual. This leads to that “I don’t know what to do, what do I play?” statement on repeat.

If you’re thrilled with your screen time arrangement, BLESS AND RELEASE! But, umm, hi, hello, can you share your hacks with all the rest of us in the comments below…thannkk you!

But if you are itching for a change with your current screen time situation, I will share what has been working in my household! Because let’s be honest over here, this is no easy task so let’s get prepared and take this on like the champs we are!

You ready? I’m ready. Deep breath!

Here are 4 tips to help you set screen time limits for your preschooler!

1. Pull the plug and go on a screen detox. (This is going to suck a little. Sometimes parenting sucks.)

I did this detox over our spring break this year. This meant being prepared using our co-op boxes. One thing to note is that over vacations from school like spring break, my goal is to not have them do more learning activities and focus more on playing. But I know that using little learning activities will spark their creativity, and then they usually jump into their own play.

Day 1 and 2 will be the hardest, but around day 3, kids figure out what is going on, and they adjust. By days 4 and 5, you will be amazed at their ability to play.

Stay strong. You got this!

2. Create a routine and be consistent

When you are ready to re-introduce screen time (because for most of us a detox needs to be temporary), pick a time that works best for your schedule as a parent. Kids can smell weakness and if they sense that you are not going to stay consistent with the routine they will push back.

3. Provide an alternative!

Play is hard work! It is a learned skill, so we need to help get them there. When our kids have too much screen time, they don’t have enough practice with play and need help getting started.

Suggestions to help get them started:

  • Set up an activity ahead of time. You can check out ideas to help you ease into independent play here! Or you can grab your Preschool Playbook here and get everything you need in one place!
  • Set out a new or forgotten toy. Haven’t you noticed that when it comes time to go through toys, they are suddenly attached and instantly play with every toy you try to give away?
  • Play a game! This could be family game night or their favorite game. Let them choose.

4. Go outside!

Something magical happens to my kids when we go outside. They instantly become creative and filled with joy. Take some crafts outside. Here are some ideas! Or take mealtime to the backyard!

The moral of the story, yes, setting screen time limits for your preschoolers is a hard challenge. To make it easier, create a routine and be consistent. The key is to pick a time that works best for you and dedicate that time to screens. Once that time is up, screen time is over. Then bring in your 3 tips from above and stick to them! I choose to use screens for 1 hour after we have quiet time. Usually, that’s when I need a break if I’m honest. Then screens go on at 3 pm for an hour, and when that timer goes off at 4 pm, I allow them to either finish their game or the episode and turn it off.

If you need more ideas to help increase playtime with your kiddos try these ideas! If you try any of these activities to limit screentime for your kids, be sure to tag me and let me know how it goes. I always love cheering you on and hearing your successes!

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