Asked & Answered: Reading and Screen Time (Part Four)

All responses taken from our Facebook groups: Foster Parenting Toolbox and Kinship Parenting Group.

Do your children spend the majority of their free time watching TV, playing video games or using social media? We asked current foster, kinship and adoptive parents how they limit screen time, and encourage reading as a hobby instead. Here’s what they shared:

“Find things that they are interested in. Doesn’t matter what it is, chapter books, books with pictures, manga, graphic novels, comics, you name it. Books on tape and ebooks work too. There isn’t just one type of reading that is OK or ‘good.’

Let them see you reading and enjoying it. Read with them, older kids – even teens, enjoy being read to and sometimes will find they like reading to you.

Make sure that they actually can see well and can read, as not everyone does or can and often those with uncertain family situations have learning gaps as well. Ask them to help you read a recipe to make dinner and if they struggle with it gently help them and get their vision checked whether they appear to struggle or not.”

“TV is only allowed a couple times a week and to watch a specific show. TV isn’t just turned on and going in the background.”

“We go to the library every other week where I let them pick out a few books and then I pick out a few for them too. They read at night and in the mornings. Going to the library and allowing the youngest helped her with learning to read and now she loves to read.

The kids do not have a TV in their room. I’m one of a few parents who don’t have TVs in the bedroom. The kids are allowed to watch TV in the family room but everything is kid appropriate with profiles and such. And the TV is not allowed on until 10 a.m. on the weekends and during the summer. And that’s after chores are complete.

They have tablets and the oldest (12) now has a cellphone but we have three hours of screen time for the tablet and the cell is turned off at 8 p.m. and not back on until 10 a.m. If they don’t like it, they just don’t get to have any time. I don’t care about tantrums and whining and crying. If you want to scream about how upset you are, scream in a pillow in your room. Once you are calm and can explain to me why you got upset and we talk about it THEN you can have your tablet or TV time. I just don’t play when it comes to electronics. I could care less if the kids have a cell phone or tablet. (I don’t mean that in a bad way, just matter of fact.) Them not having it because of their behavior does not hurt me. And the kids have now realized that they will have more and more freedoms and will be allowed to have more time if they are behaving while having it.”

“I take my kiddos to the thrift store or second hand book store and let them pick out some books. I often use it as a reward so they get really excited about it! I find they are really happy to read the books they pick.”

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