Back to School with Screen Time Tips and Nordstrom Kid's Style

My boys have been back to school for just over a month now and it feels like we are back in the groove. I'm so thankful that we have such a great school district and that the boys go to school and come home from school happy nearly every day. Huge shout out to their sweet teachers and the other adults who make school easy and fun for them.

One of the blessings (and curses) about living in our district is that the kids are all given an iPad or a laptop to use for the year starting in Kindergarten. They use them sometimes in class and then have educational apps that they are approved to download and use at home. It's great because they are learning technology and have the world at their fingertips, but it's also a challenge to regulate and monitor screen time. I'm sure many of your kids have similar devices (or ask to use yours) so today I'm partnering with Nordstrom to share some screen time tips and back to school style.

10 screen time tips for back to school success


As a mom in this digital age, I know that screens are going to be a part of my kids' life. They are a huge part of my life! But I also know that there is so much of life to be experienced outside of an electronic device and I don't want my kids missing out on that! Soren and I don't allow or own any video gaming systems right now, so the kid's screen time is really limited to iPads, computers and the TV. As busy parents and a busy family, it's easy to lean too heavily on screens to entertain the kids (like right now as I write this post!) but we try to be conscious of it and do what we can to combat it.

10 screen time tips for back to school success

Boys van sneakers

Boys van sneakers
10 screen time tips for back to school success

We the Free by Free People January Tee

10 screen time tips for back to school success
10 screen time tips for back to school success
Boys Fleece Hooded Pullover // Boys Cargo Jogger Pants // Boys Van Sneakers

I am by no means the expert, but I put some thought into what we do or what I want to do and created this list of tips for ways to be conscious about screen time and how to involve our kids in the process.

10 Screen Time Tips for Back to School Success

  1. Treat screen time like a privilege. Just because their apps are learning apps does not mean they can do "homework" all night. A learning app is definitely better than silly online quizzes, but their learning apps still look an awful lot like a video game, so we still put limits on them. 
  2. Teach them to prioritize. There are so many things more important than screen time, and as soon as time on the iPad becomes their main focus, I know their priorities have gotten out of whack. I don't have a set chore chart, but I do have a mental list that I go down if someone asks for screen time. Is their room clean? Is their clean laundry put away? Have they played outside, or do they have sports practice planned for that evening? Is dinner cleaned up? Usually they have 2-4 jobs to do before they get an okay for screen time.
  3. Set a timer. We always set a timer. Because their devices are from school there aren't a lot of apps or restrictions I can create on them, but I really try to always have them set a physical timer. If they set it, they are conscious of the number. I know there are apps and settings you can use to control and monitor usage. 
  4. Talk to them about why they want to play and what they plan to play. Some of the best advice I've gotten for keeping my phone usage down is to be intentional about why I open it up. Do I need to look something up? Do I want to send a message? Don't do it aimlessly. With kids you can also help them be intentional and make a plan for what they want to do before they start. 
  5. Model appropriate use. This is a toughie, but it's important for me too. I try and need to keep my screen usage to appropriate times and set boundaries. Kids definitely see what we do and are the first to notice hypocrisy. 
  6. Teach why screens are dangerous. Screen time can have so many dangers. Pornography, it's addictive, it's a lazy, easy use of time for your brain- and it's also lazy for your body. I try to talk about all of those things with the kids. Explained the right way, it's been pretty easy for my kids to agree that screen time should be monitored and limited. 
  7. Brainstorm productive screen time. Another way to make screen time good is to teach them a skill or help them create something rather than consume.  I am much happier to see Easton on the computer making a slide show or a report about something he is interested in. He has made one about the kind of dog he wants and created a report about the Greek Gods.
  8. Always play in my presence and no screens allowed in rooms. This is a must. I don't want them feeling like they are sneaking screen time or tempted to change what they have told me they are doing on their screen. They also turn them in at night and must have them on the charger in the laundry room before bed. 
  9. Plan other activities. I find for myself that when I'm bored I turn to my phone. I'm a big fan of kids being bored- it's good for them- but having a sport or play date or designated reading time is a way to keep kids involved in the world and busy. 
  10. Mom (and Dad) have the final say. I make sure the kids know their iPads are not their iPads- I still have the say. 

I really believe that screen time rules are a work in progress and they change throughout the seasons of life, but its' so smart to always have limits in mind. 

What's also smart? Kid's clothes that look great, feel great and hold up great throughout all seasons of life. With five boys we pass down a lot of things and so I'm always looking for great quality at a good price. I've been so pleased with our kids' clothes from Nordstrom, especially the Tucker & Tate brand. Easton also has quite a few items from Under Armor and Nordstrom for Kids and all of them have washed up so well. Shop our faves below and leave a comment about your process for screen time monitoring and what works for you!

For more kids back to school check out this post and this post. Thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always, all purchases and styling were done by the boys and I. 

1 comment

  1. Kilee,

    Thank you for taking the threat of pornography seriously! So many people deem it to be "natural" but it absolutely is not and I am so proud of you and your husband for protecting your boys. All of these tips are excellent for controlling the amount of screen time kids have access too. Thank you for this blog post!

    Lillian C.


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