c_icon b_icon si_icon a_icon piao_icon loud_icon message_icon exclamation_mark_icon
The CURIOOKids Malaysia Blog
a_icon b_icon c_icon
The CURIOOKids Malaysia Blog

How Can Parents Manage their Children’s Screen Time: 5 Most Practical Ideas


Monitoring a child's screen time can be challenging with phones, tablets, smart TVs, PDAs, and laptop screens practically everywhere. To make things a bit more complicated, some screen time can be educational and beneficial to children's social development. So, how do you keep track of your child's screen time? Here Curioo Kids experts help you with the most practical ideas about how to manage your child's media and screen time.


So stay with us for 5 minutes, read this article and if you need help feel free to contact us. We are here to help you with your children at any stage they are.


In this article we’ll discuss screen time with parents and how parents can best manage kids’ screen time at home.


The Big Picture

Unfortunately, the problem has its side effects on our children. As research has found these past few years, overexposure to poor-quality programming and excessive screen time has been tied to:

  • Obesity
  • Inadequate sleep schedules and lack of sleep
  • Behavior problems
  • Delays in the development of language and social skills
  • Violence
  • Attention issues
  • Less time spent learning


According to the most recent Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) findings, most Australian children (nearly two-thirds) use their devices considerably more than professional standards suggest is healthy.


This is no different in Malaysia with even more usage by children, “where 9 in 10 children aged 5 to 17 are internet users, while 92% of students aged 13 to 17 have social media accounts.” 


This is a serious issue. Children who spend too much time in front of screens are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, social problems, poor academic performance, and even physical health problems.


The Way Forward

While "how much" screen time our children have is crucial, "what type" of screen time they have is even more critical. The things our children do on their screens will have an equal, if not bigger, impact on their lives than the amount of time they spend on them. It is essential for children's well-being to define clear guidelines for what they can access, view, and interact with online.


Each family must set up an appropriate guideline about the amount of time and the kind of content that their children can spend time online consuming. There are many different tips to help manage the children’s screen time with less tears, conflict and drama.


Here we will dive into five ways to end screen time battles with your children at home, then we’ll mention the experience of six moms in families just like yours who’ve found screen time sanity. Their solutions are feasible, practical and smart. You can try one to see what works best for you.


By the way, we have put together a full children’s screen time management pack for you to use and get going fast. It includes templates and checklists you can just print out and use with your son or daughter very quickly.


Click below to download the whole children’s screen time pack


Five Ways to End Screen Time Battles with Your Children at Home are:

1- Use a Timer

2- Be an Example

3- Create a daily/weekly routine that has defined time allowances for outdoor play and screen time

4- Initiate a neighborhood-wide scavenger hunt

5- Monitor content, not time


Now let’s Dive more into each of them:

1- Use a timer:

Children usually prefer the sound of an alarm over the sound of their parents. You can use the oven timer, your phone timer, or even the timer of the device your child is using- and encourage them to set it. The more their sense of control, the more receptive they are to the deadline.


2- Be an Example

Certainty, this is the best and simplest technique to encourage your children to play outside. You already know how much your children act like you.

For instance, find opportunities to bring your regular life outside. Family dinners on the patio are wonderful in the fall. A picnic does not have to be a costly affair. Simply encourage your children to place the table on a blanket on the grass rather than the dining table.

In order to lessen the negative impacts of screen time on children, we must first examine how to limit our own screen time! We have to stand on higher ground if we want to lift others up.


3- Create a daily/weekly routine that has defined time allowances for outdoor play and screen time

Most parents believe that having a routine in place makes life more seamlessly. An age-appropriate daily routine can be developed for your children regardless of their age.


You may already have a schedule in place that includes morning hygiene, school preparation, afternoon homework, housework, and sleep preparation. 

An effective technique for curbing screen time addiction is to schedule both outdoor time and screen time together.  Children not only need screen time but also need to play outdoors so parents should be able to manage and integrate both of them together. 


In fact, scheduling digital media time is the most accepted method used by parents to control a balance.


One method is to establish a reasonable amount of screen time usage during the week and on weekends. Schedule specific hours over the week for your kids to use the phone/iPad/TV. Schedule other times when the children must leave the house for play.


On weekends and during holidays, most parents allow their children much more chances to access screens. However, the more time spent on screens, the more time should be scheduled for outdoor activity!


Many parents also recommend having a written agreement/contract in place and rules that say screen time is only allowed if household duties and homework are completed for the day.


The question of how to limit screen time does not arise if it does not become a problem in the first place.



4- Initiate a neighbourhood-wide scavenger hunt

Neighbourhood scavenger hunt is a great activity to encourage kids to get outside and look around and analyse the neighbourhood.  

Make a list of objects for your kid to find based on his or her age, hobbies and interests.  You can even include a few items describing observed activities. 

It should also be challenging enough that it requires more than one walk around the block to accomplish.


There are many different types of scavenger hunts such as:

  • Neighbourhood Scavenger Hunt

  • Color Scavenger Hunt

  • Indoor Scavenger Hunt

  • Word Scavenger Hunt

  • Number Scavenger Hunt

  • Art Scavenger Hunt

  • Movement Scavenger Hunt


Here is an example of a “Neighbourhood Scavenger Hunt”, and a "Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt" for you: 


Neighbourhood Scavenger Hunt Nature Walk

As you see there are many fantastic and exciting types of scavenger hunt that you can use to limit your kids screen time and expand their physical and mental activity. You have the opportunity to try them and see which one works best for you.


5- Monitor content, not time

Screen time is not created equal. Staying in touch with pals via video chat is an important activity for preserving well-being during social isolation. 

Screen Time1


Usually children have free access to FaceTime or Skype chats with close friends. So here parents must jump in and manage the digital content which their kids are spending time on. 


For instance, parents can educate their kids through educational apps, which helps them to learn more new  fascinating things through games or useful virtual visits.

Fortunately there are many family-friendly websites that suggest you visit the zoo online and bring the cute animals to your home. 


Or even if you are looking for another kid and family friendly activity that banish boredom, increase curiosity and stimulate your kids' brain, you can take the online trip to a museum such as the Louvre. 


In addition, the only thing better than a virtual zoo can be wildlife live programs. It is really wonderful to watch the existing animals that move around in their natural habitats. The www.explore.org has different types of live animals programs about elephants, leopards, lions and more. 


Or any different useful educational games or online activities such as dance classes or parties, singing lessons, learning a new language, playing chess, cooking classes, etc. can help you to monitor the digital content rather than screen time.


For the time being, our priorities do not revolve around the number of hours worked. They are concerned with preserving a family culture that highlights our most important values, which include social connection, respectful interactions, and self-directed learning.


How does your family feel about screen time? Do you have another creative idea? Share your ideas and your experience with us! 

>>> Click here to contact us and book a free behavioural assessment <<<

What do other parent's suggest?

Let’s read the experience and creativity of six moms who found screen time serenity. Their stories are feasible, realistic, and intelligent. You can try them all to find which one works best for you.

(Names have been changed for privacy purposes)


1- Create a Voucher Structure 

"We decided to use screen time to teach our children about budgeting. First, we had them assist us in creating time coupons ranging from 15 to 45 minutes. We laminated them, and each child receives 200 minutes of screen time per week. They can use their minutes as they like; all they have to do is hand over their coupons.


"One child uses up all of her coupons on the first day, while another distributes them in 15-minute pieces. It works for us because they both understand that when their coupons run out, they run out of time.” - Zhi Hao

2- Short rides have no screens

"One of our most heated arguments was over screen time in the car. Even if it was merely to drive to school, the kids would ask to have their games or videos in the car.


"We set a blanket rule for them: In fact we explained to them that there is no screen time in the car unless the travel is longer than an hour."  - Jun Kai


3- Set Screen Time for Saturday Morning

“Mobile, ipad and laptop screen time is forbidden during the week, so the kids are always excited to have access to their devices on weekends.

The tablets, along with some juice boxes and cereal bars, are left on the kitchen table, and they allow us to sleep in. On Saturday, we slept until 9:00 a.m. We're brilliant!” - Annie


4- Keep Paper Books

"We have a rule that we don't read books on e-books. I think that learning to love reading actual paper books is vital for everyone. "I'm a traditionalist. "


We also don't allow children to watch TV or even use any kind of screen such as a laptop or an ipad till  they first read for 30 minutes. 

Actually, I want to raise readers, and I enjoy it when they become so engaged in a book that they lose track of time. It happens more frequently than you might expect." - Yi Ling


5- Bring your screen time into family time

"My issue with screen time is that it causes everyone to go into their separate rooms, where we don't communicate with each other at all.

 So we decided to set a rule for screen time which is from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., it’s while we do it together, around the table. 

Moreover, we end up sharing amusing videos, while we have a great interaction with each other and I know a lot more about the games they enjoy, and which one is suitable for them" - Farah


6- Give your kids choice

"One of the things that irritates me about screen time is when my children become passive media consumers. I don't mind them using applications because most of the ones we have are instructive and educational. 


But I despise seeing children sit for an hour staring at a screen. "So we set a rule: you get to choose between 20 minutes of video watching or 40 minutes of physical activity per night. They still have the option to make a decision, but this motivates them to make a better one." - Christine

Managing your family’s screen time is both essential and advantageous. But without the right tools and ideas, you’ll be stuck on base 1. That’s why we’ve tried to help you in this blog post and have also organized a pack of helpful templates and worksheets you can use with your kids to manage the situation. Go ahead and download the pack by clicking below: