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Media Allowance Tips for Parents

Media Allowance Tips for Parents – I started a strict media allowance plan for my kids this summer after realizing their appetite for screen time was becoming problematic.

Since my first column about the “Summer Media Allowance”, I’ve been asked if my plan was a success and if I had any advice to dispense about the media ban. I’ve even been asked to potentially feature a segment about it on WDIV’s Live In The D program.


I’ll start by stating that, for me, instituting a media allowance or media ban was becoming a near necessity as far as my family was concerned. I noticed my kids were becoming creatively bankrupt for “things to do” ideas without the aid of a tablet, smart phone, tv, laptop, or computer. Basically, my goal when I started it was just to get them outside a little more. I had no idea at the time the benefits would stretch far beyond that.

My media allowance plan for the summer months was simple

NO tv, video games, computer time (YouTube videos), tablet or cell phone apps before 6p every day through the entire summer.

Once I set the plan into motion, I wasn’t prepared for the blowback. My kids just sort of lingered for a while not even sure what to do. They were going through screen time withdrawal. I actually had to step in to kickstart them to think for themselves (which actually proved that this media ban was necessary!). I sat down with them to help them create a (rather long) list of non-screen time activities that could occupy their time. We even put the list on a dry erase board attached to the fridge. Among the things we came up with:

  • guitar practice
  • baseball practice
  • meeting friends for play dates
  • art / drawing
  • building a fort
  • bike rides around the neighborhood
  • take a walk with friends to the dollar store
  • reading

Once my kids started to settle into their new ways, they naturally adjusted and were independently thinking of ways to fill their time. Old board games were getting pulled off the shelves, bikes were ridden to friends houses, there were walks to the dollar store, playing catch outside, and more. Thanks to the tablet going unused, my daughter became more and more engrossed in reading above her age level and my son made his Little League All Star team for the first time.

Since the plan worked so well for the summer, I’ve instituted a media allowance plan for the school year as well. No screen time until homework is complete, no screen time until at least 7p, and screen time stops an hour before bedtime.

Media Allowance Tips for Parents

  • Clearly define the rules
  • Have children create a list of things to do outside of screen time
  • Positive reinforcement

See related posts below for media allowance tips for parents.

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