You wouldn’t send your kid to a sleepover without telling the parents about your kid’s allergies or bedtime bugaboos. Why not use the same logic with screen time rules?
We know it’s hard to do. It can feel like you’re being judgmental or don’t trust the other person to take good care of your child. But if you have strong preferences about what and when your child consumes media, you need to speak up even when you’re not around to supervise. Each situation calls for a different strategy. (And don’t forget to empower kids to talk to caregivers about what they are and aren’t comfortable watching, playing, or reading.)
Here are 10 ways to express your wishes to babysitters, friends, and relatives.
Daycare or After-School Program
Assess the situation. If you have a choice of daycare or after-school programs, ask the director about his or her stance on media use before you sign up. Say: “Do kids ever watch TV or play video games during the day?” But if you find out after the fact that your kids are consuming more media than you’d like — or you don’t like what they’re watching or playing — it’s time for a talk.
Be respectful but clear. Ask: “What’s your policy on TV/movie/etc. use when the kids are in your care?”
Find a solution that works for you. Try something like: “I’m not comfortable with my kids watching that much TV. What alternatives can we come up with?” If you still don’t get what you want, you can band together with other parents to present a unified front … or change caregivers.