How to Find a Balanced Screen time Schedule for Boys

What is the recommended screen time for your boys or children in your house? We are all so connected now then when I was young. There are so many gadgets a child can have. There’s the TV, the computer, their video games – PS3 or Wii, then there’s the hand held devices like the Nintendo DS, ipods and phones. I sure as hell didn’t have any of those when I was growing up. We played the very first version of Nintendo Super Mario Brothers, where they were in 2D and you couldn’t go back in the level, you could only move forward. You know the one, where if it wasn’t playing , you’d blow on the game to get it to work. Yeah, those were good times. I learned to type on my friends type writer and I didn’t get a computer until my last year of high school, you know when AOL was the bomb. My how things have changed. When my son was young, we didn’t have much rules in place about him watching TV. I think because at that time we were young too and watched a lot of TV as well. After doing some reading, we discovered that TV wasn’t good for children at all and they wanted us to limit TV watching to 30 minutes a day. Well, our TV use to be on all day, pretty much, which is crazy, now that I think of it. I also found that even if it wasn’t a kid show, my son would sit staring at the screen. He would then go on to tell me that he wanted every single toy that popped up on the commercials. He was developing this gimme mentality about toys which I really disliked. Once we started homeschooling, that’s when I cut down all of our TV watching and we had always limited his video game playing time but became more stringent about it. how to deal with video games, computer and TV time - how to find a balanced screen time schedule for boys

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How to Find a Balanced Screen Time Schedule for Boys

Cut out cable.

You don’t need it. We watch everything we need to on Netflix and it’s only $8 bucks a month. We watch it on our own schedules and are not held prisoner to the TV schedule. Plus, there are no commercials. You become more proficient in your TV watching when you stream things, how awesome is that?

Restrict internet and computer usage.

The internet, although great, is also full of dangers in itself. My child is not on social media and he does not have an email at this point. He’ll be 12 soon, so I’m thinking of getting one for him to communicate with family. Something that I will have complete access to as well. Place filters on their computers and paswords on yours. You just never know where curious little minds might wonder to.

What is most important to your child?

Video games? Well use it as a reward. When all school subjects are complete, my son has earned 5 minutes for each subject he’s completed. Well, 10 for math since we were having issues there. If he doesn’t get his work done he can’t play. That’s final. What does your child do if their not having screen time? Play. That’s right, he gets out his blocks or Legos and starts building. He makes comic books, he writes stories. He reads a lot. He goes outside and plays basketball. I have a hubby who is into games so we have 2 game consoles, and the ds and a tablet and our phones. So my children are well versed in Angry Birds and Skylanders, but it’s not their lives. Although they do talk about it a lot. They also draw pictures and stories about them so I’m not worried. They play at the most 30 minutes at a time, for my oldest. My youngest gets 15-20 minutes each school day. We’ve been having puberty angst so this is what we’ve been doing now to motivate him to get his work done. Before that we were at  3x a week schedule. Nothing on the weekends for us since we’re busy with family stuff. Find what works for you and your family. Everyone is different. What do you do in your house about screen time? Read the other posts in the How to Homeschool Boys series. Ideas on how to homeschool boys because they sure are different from girls  


  1. Great tips- thanks for sharing. It is SO hard to help them find balance for sure. We have to remember that the TV and video games are not babysitters.

  2. These are excellent tips! I agree. We don’t do cable either and not only is it nicer with more family time, it saves money!

  3. Sometimes I just want to hulk smash the computer and the TV with a hammer!! lol!

    It is at these times that I know I have gone lenient with out screen time rules. Ours are much like yours except they don’t earn the game time.

    They get to play one day a week for 1.5 hours. Of course this is only if all their school work is done.

    TV, thankfully isn’t too bad. We do not have cable or Netflix, but we do have a large DVD collection and the kids found out you can watch cartoons online. Aye, what is a parent to do? So, they get one day a week to watch 3 episodes of whatever cartoon they are in to.

    We do have family movie night and we do use the TV screen for educational videos for studies once in a while.

  4. This is a toughie, isn’t it? When our kids were little, we let them have two hours screen time per week unless we watched a family video, which we did maybe once every two or three weeks. My son who is now 26, and interestingly enough an iphone app programmer and designing his own iphone computer game to market, just thanked me a few months ago for being so strict.

    He said he thought I was mean at the time, but he’s thankful now because he has all kinds of friends who were allowed to play as much computer as they wanted when they were young and he says they don’t have all the great memories of building forts, building rafts, and running around in the woods that he has. So he’s thankful he has great memories.

    Also, just for interest, my college daughter says that most of the girls she knows think it’s lame when they meet boys who play computer games all the time at college – and there are a lot of them. So you’re training your boys well to not be seen as lame at college by the girls. 🙂 I know it’s hard when they want to play all the time. And when it would be so much easier to let them play! But it will be worth it in the end!

    I should also say, one summer I got tired of being the bad guy as my husband didn’t care how much they watched – so I think I let them play three hours a day that summer if I remember right – anyway, some huge amount of time. In retrospect, if I was going to go that route, I should have just let them play all day on the days my husband was home, as it probably would have bugged him if he’d seen them playing all the time and he might have been more willing to be the bad guy! 🙂

    1. It is a toughie, what a great thing for your son to say. I hope mine are thankful when they’re older because they surely don’t appreciate it now.

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