Helpful Podcast Eps + House Rules

January 25, 2022

3 podcast episodes that helped me recently:

1- When You Just Can’t – The Life Coach School Podcast. I have mixed feeling about TLCS business model and all life coaching programs that encourage becoming a coach as a main pathway to happiness/success (because doesn’t that get a little . . . pyramid-y? Eventually one runs out of coachees . . . ). But this episode was great and came at the right time.

2- Nir Eyal: How to Create an Indistractible Family Life – Marriage Kids & Money. I felt very inspired by this. Maybe because he basically says (in other terms) that planning is the secret to life (ie: deciding when you will be on devices rather than impulsive decisions in the moment; deciding on when you will have non-device-relationshihp-focused time and sticking to it, etc). Ha! I think I will try to have him on BLP!

3- How Can I Enjoy Having Little Kids Close in Age? – 3 in 30 Podcast. I don’t really have little kids close in age anymore, but I still found the strategies in this episode valuable.

House Rules

I was moved after listening to #2 and #3 to create a new House Rules document (with A’s help), particularly involving screen time.

The basic premise:

Weekdays: No screens until all homework done, both kids have read 20 minutes, toys cleaned up, showers/baths complete. Screens off at 7:30 sharp. TV shows/movies/YouTube on the big screen only (playing video games are too stimulation for weeknights and I cannot deal).

Weekends: No screens until 1:30 pm at the earliest. Screen block of 90 minutes as a ‘baseline’ but can earn more by doing various things (going to bed each weeknight nicely = 30 min; extra time spent reading or playing outside = 30 min; etc). Can also lose time – 10 minutes for each minute you are not ready by 7:36 (yes 7:36 – this is what A and I agreed upon!) in the morning for school, 60 minutes for physical sibling altercations, etc.

We will see how it goes! G is too young to entirely grasp the nuances of the rules, but gets the general premise.

I have no problem with a few hours of video games on the weekends if above conditions are met but I can’t stand that they seem to be losing the ability to entertain themselves sans screen entirely.

Final random note: My parents turned me on to Wordle, a daily word game. Fun to quasi-compete as a group to do the challenge each night. Recommend!


  • Reply Mrs. Candid January 25, 2022 at 6:13 am

    Wordle is too good, we have also started playing as a family. The best part is no app required, and you can do only one word in a day, so can’t get addicted.
    You can try the hard mode for more fun if interested, by choosing in settings.

  • Reply Gillian January 25, 2022 at 6:55 am

    I just started playing Wordle on Sunday and I am hooked!

  • Reply Coree January 25, 2022 at 7:15 am

    Wordle is so good. I think it’s such a little treat that I can enjoy while drinking my tea in the morning. Just the single puzzle ensures you can’t get sucked in.

    The screentime and house rules make a lot of sense. We do ipads for 30 minutes of so on weekend mornings but only after we’ve read a few books. We tend to read or chat, my son plays the ipad, we all snuggle in bed. And then 60-90 minutes after quiet time on the weekend, TV is contingent on an hours quiet time. And then it’s time for bath, dinner, bedtime, so it makes the weekend evenings feel more restorative. TV is typically off during the week, unless one of us is solo and needs to make dinner. But I kind of hate it b/c he doesn’t get any home playtime on weekdays.

  • Reply Joy January 25, 2022 at 7:44 am

    Wordle is great. I share with my son and love that I can’t get addicted or connected to an app/social media.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns January 25, 2022 at 8:19 am

    This is motivating me to try Wordle. I didn’t realize it wasn’t ap-based. Which makes me ok with trying it. I don’t want any more addictive aps!

    Your screen rules make sense! We have been letting our almost 4yo have iPad time during quiet time on weekend afternoons while the baby is napping. I have mixed feelings about this but he mostly uses it to watch Wild Kratts on the PBS ap or play a WK game (he is soooo obsessed!). But it’s the only way we can get a full break which I really need these days since we are cooped up inside due to the cold and I seem to always be sick!! I feel less bad about it when I see all the creative play he does at other times of the day. And right now it’s what we need for survival! Which sounds kind of dramatic to say but omg I have never been sick so much in my life. I feel like I’ve had maybe 15 healthy days since mid-November. Thank goodness my husband had a functioning immune system. He’s barely been sick in that time block and when he is, it’s a minor case of the sniffles. So he is really carrying the parenting torch these days.

  • Reply Alyssa January 25, 2022 at 8:38 am

    I would love to hear Nir Eyal on the podcast! I borrowed Indistractable from the library a few months ago, and I just purchased it a few weeks ago because I kept wanting to refer back to it. This is a big thing for me as I read a ton but only “own” 20-ish books at one time. The book itself is organized very well and I thought he did a great job giving examples in the form of stories, but also keeping to the point. I would guess you have read it already, but if not, it is worth a the read IMO.

    • Reply Grateful Kae January 25, 2022 at 11:17 am

      I purchased this book too! I’m a big fan, also! Would love to hear him on the podcast. I remember Sarah did read it a while back too.

  • Reply Leneigh January 25, 2022 at 8:49 am

    So we just started doing a “tech Shabbat”, 24 hours with no screens on the weekend, inspired by Tiffany shlain’s book 24/6. My kids (age 7 and 9) have complained A LOT…we are only two weeks in so the verdict is still out on whether this will be a good idea.

    I have high hopes though and am already seeing positive changes, more creativity on those days, more reading, crafting and engaged time together. I’m hoping I can stick with it as I’m excited about the concept.

  • Reply Lydia January 25, 2022 at 9:10 am

    You might enjoy the book The Art of Screen Time. I found it as a recommendation in Emily Oster’s The Family Firm and while we have only made very minor tweaks to our actual screen practices my angst and worry about the whole thing has decreased dramatically since reading. Good stuff!

  • Reply Amanda January 25, 2022 at 9:26 am

    Funny timing to post re screen time – I have been Covid quarantined (first time this has happened to us!) since Friday w my 3 year old. I’m cleared to return to work tomorrow but she just tested positive yesterday so I’ll be home an extra day tomorrow, then my husband (who tested negative and was on call this weekend) will stay home Thursday and Friday. We aren’t super strict with screen time but under normal circumstances we definitely don’t do it every day – probably 3 or 4 days per week for less than 2 hours. But I’ve let her watch at least an hour every day since Saturday, including right now. I feel a little guilty but we’ve also read a lot and crafted and played a lot too so whatever. However I definitely see the difference in how much she is asking for it, especially in the mornings. It’s amazing how quickly they can get addicted. Will definitely give some of these podcasts a listen, thank you!

  • Reply Kaitlin January 25, 2022 at 10:15 am

    I’m a bit on the opposite end of the screen time spectrum. I have no limits on it and I make zero attempts to track the time. That being said, we have no tablets, no internet (mobile hotspot only, I live in a rural area and no one will provide internet…), one TV with an antenna that gets 10 channels and a roku that can only be used if I have the mobile hotspot on. The oldest gets to play PBS games on my phone if he asks but it’s not very often. I think having the electronics with limited usage abilities has been a huge help. It’s very rare theres whining over the tv or phone. If you’re able to do something like the internet only works between x and y time, maybe that could be helpful? Then its the internet and not the actual physical device that they dont have access to.
    However, mine are 5 and 2 so we might also not be to the point where electronics are a source of frustration :). I hope the new strategy works! As frustrating as everything is, I think parenthood is never ending game of trial and error.

    • Reply Grateful Kae January 25, 2022 at 11:13 am

      Come back when they’re 15 and 12 and every one of their friends plays simultaneous/live stream games together all the time 😂😂 I’m kidding, kind of, but man it gets harder when they are older. Even setting specific time limits gets tricky because they have more sports, activities now so it’s hard to say like “only after X time” because maybe they have a BB game in the pm but are free in the morning but their BFF who they want to play with is going to grandma’s later and wants to play a round quick now, etc… 🙄

      • Reply Kaitlin January 25, 2022 at 11:37 am

        I figure I’ll have my dose of reality in a few years….I didnt even think about the whole wanting to play online with friends!!! 😯
        I’m secretly hoping we continue to have trouble finding an internet provider and live in the dark ages until the kids are over 18…then it’s a simple no internet, no video games, etc 😂🤣

  • Reply Amy January 25, 2022 at 1:53 pm

    Interesting and helpful comments here! We don’t do hard and fast rules like this (in part because if we ever, even once, need to break them, then it’s all over) but we do put a lot of limits on *certain types* of tech / screens. My kids don’t have tablets of their own and play ~30 minutes or so of Minecraft in the afternoons after school, one uses my computer and the other my iPad. The only TV they really watch anymore is live sports, and I’m glad for that as it means I don’t have to keep up with various Netflix kids shows and it doesn’t normalize / habituate the need to keep up with TV programming. We don’t have a Switch or Xbox or anything. My kids are 7 and almost 10 (and 10 months but he doesn’t count 😂). This causes great angst for my 9yo, who claims that ALL of his friends have a Switch and they ALL got them years ago! Sorry kid. Oh well.

    I have spent a lot of time thinking (and perseverating) about screen time, video games and so on, particularly because I feel I got off on the wrong foot with my oldest (a boy, which I do think makes a difference) — letting him have way too much time watching TV when he was little, even though it was just PBS kids and I needed the break, habituated him to having the TV entertain him. We have drawn a hard line around having a video game console in our home or allowing our kids to have iPads because we’ve seen so many other kids zone out and lose the ability to be interested in anything else, not to mention their creativity, attention span, resourcefulness, and so on. Not all of them, of course, but I know my son in particular would struggle with self-regulation. I know eventually things will change and my son will want to be able to play with his friends — but he’ll be older, and a foundation will have been laid that doesn’t place technology at the center of life, and he’ll be more prepared and developmentally ready to work on that self-regulation. At least I hope so. None of us really knows what we’re doing 😉

    • Reply KGC January 25, 2022 at 2:04 pm

      Oh, I am also very familiar with ALL THE FRIENDS who get MANY HOURS of computer time and how it’s NOT FAIR. Sorry, but you’re 5 and I can’t regulate the 7- and 9-year old neighbors on their devices. I mostly just say things like, “yeah, that sure feels unfair, huh? Different houses have different rules.” Sometimes we move on with no more protests and other times we…don’t. (My husband also likes to ‘helpfully’ chime in with “So you wanna be just like all your friends? What if all your friends jumped off a bridge?!!?” I’ll give you three guesses as to how much traction that gets…ha!) Just wanted to weigh in with solidarity there!

      I’m also hoping that the limits I have in place (similar to yours: no video games, does not own his own iPad) will help lay a foundation that isn’t 100% dependent on screens for entertainment!

      • Reply Amy January 25, 2022 at 7:22 pm

        “So and so gets to play for TWO HOURS every day!!” 1. I doubt that 2. That’s still not relevant 😂

        • Reply KGC January 25, 2022 at 8:32 pm

          Your kid and my kid would be friends. Mine has said those exact words. They could commiserate about their awful mothers with our rules 😂

  • Reply Sophie January 25, 2022 at 6:02 pm

    We are loving Wordle in our family too!
    And they sound like great house rules around screen time- we have similar and it works pretty well. Amazing what kids will come up with to play with if they know screen time is not an option – always reassuring that setting strict boundaries around screens is the right move. Look forward to hearing how you find these new rules go.

  • Reply Omdg January 25, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    We need to restart the no screens til 1pm on the weekends rule also. I honestly don’t mind if she spends the evening on the iPad as long as she does her homework, reading, piano, math, and Spanish. She plays video games with her friends online (even ones from PA) and codes for fun, so it doesn’t seem like a total waste.

  • Reply Diane C. January 25, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing your house rules – it’s really helpful to see what limits other people have and how they think through things. I love that you and A came up with the rules together. We’ve been struggling with this too. My ten year old got a tablet for Christmas and now it’s all she wants to do. We have a token system where she gets 15 wooden tokens a week, each token is 15 minutes of time, and she can trade them in for screen time once her homework, piano practice, laundry/chores are done. I feel like my kid will rush through her tasks in order to get to screen time and what I really would love for her to do is spend some time on her own without a screen, so I do like your rules for when screen time can happen. I’m thinking of also having a maximum time allowed on the screen at once – like maybe after 90 minutes she has to get up and do something else for X amount of time before she can cash in more tokens…?
    I’m curious as to whether your kids decide together what to watch or play? Currently my two youngest get vicarious screen time when the ten year old has hers (if they aren’t already in bed) but I can see the five year old pushing back on that and wanting to get to choose the programming soon.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 26, 2022 at 6:35 am

      For game time – they either play collaboratively on the switch or solo on iPads, sometimes remotely with friends (G either watches TV or plays on her own iPad). For TV time, they have to agree and they are well aware that if they do not agree, I will turn it off. We did create a days-of-the-week TV choice rotation too 🙂

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