From Screens to School - ideas on how to create new screen time routines for the new school year

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

The holidays are over... "yay!" say the parents, "boooo!" say the kids.

For parents, the end of holidays means the end of quality time - but also juggling work, holiday programmes, sibling disagreements, and those horrendous feelings of guilt when you start thinking about how long your kids have been on their screens each day.

For kids, it's the end of relaxing, having fun in the sun, a slower paced daily routine, oh and also Youtube, Netflix, Disney Plus, Fortnite, Roblox, Among Us, Mind Craft, Mario Cart etc. etc. all those fun things they've been doing throughout the holidays.

Needless to say there may have been some unfortunate screen habits created throughout the holidays - in fact you may even be experiencing a hangover from pandemic lockdowns where we became so immersed in screens that being on them for the majority of the day became the new normal.

But now that school is back in session, it might be time for some of those excessive screen habits to be broken and for new screen time routines to be created, that are more in line with what feels right with your parenting intuition.

If this is something that you're interested in doing, then read on my friend because I have got you covered. You see, my kids are normal kids - they love screens as much as the next kids.

But me... not so much. My mum radar was sensing that the screens were getting a little too dominant in our household and it was time to do something about it.

So last year I did quite a bit of research into screen time - how much is too much and what can happen if 'too much' is the reality. Let's just say it was quite alarming and this jolted me into action. I put my thinking hat on and pulled together my knowledge, skills and experience as a teacher, a family coach and a mum and created a 'reduced screen time programme' for my kids.

Holy crap you would not believe the results... it was a huge success. Within days my kids were happier, more engaged in family life, were being creative, reading, even taking naps!

The constant battling over screen time was gone - I felt way less guilty and our interactions were far more positive. It was liberating.

Next I tried this programme out with friends, family and valued clients...

The result was the same - also a huge success.

So then I thought, why not share this with other parents all around the world! That way they can experience the same successes that my family had.

And so I did.

I created the 'How to reduce your kid's screen time tool kit' - everything you need to work WITH your child to break their unhealthy screen time habits and replace these with a healthy, manageable screen time system that is 'right' for your family.

And today, I'm going to share with you a portion of what is included in this tool kit, it's a little sneaky peak with the aim of inspiring you to set up a new screen time routine for your family.

Okay so here goes... hold onto your hats because it's going to be a wild but liberating ride.

Get the kids involved

First up, there is absolutely no point setting up a new screen time routine without involving the kids in the development of this.

If you try to do this TO them... it will be an epic fail. They will battle you every step of the way, it will get too difficult and then you will abandon the whole thing.

Instead work WITH them. Call a family meeting. Tell them what you have been observing - specifically what undesirable behaviours you have been noticing. Then talk about how excessive screen time is not healthy for them now and in the long term, so why not change things up a little to get things back to a more healthy level. If you want to really go into depth with this family meeting then there are lots of ideas, methods and tools in the master class (see picture above).

Consider a screen free challenge

Why not have a little reset period - we can make this enticing by pitching it like a 'fun challenge'.

This challenge can be as little as 1 day or 4 weeks (if you're really keen) - you and your kids get to choose the duration (you can even have some prizes along the way).

This is even more fun if you can get the cousins and friends on board with the challenge, in fact you could join in too!

To get more details on how to facilitate a successful screen free challenge and to get tools such as challenge invites, incentive charts and certificates, purchase the 'How to reduce your kid's screen time tool kit'. (click on the link) #screenfreechallenge

Introduce more 'green time' into their day

During your screen free challenge incorporate a whole lot of 'green time'. Research suggests that time spent outdoors and in nature can undo some of the negative impacts of excessive screen time.

Provide alternatives for screens

Common sense would suggest that if you take away your child's number one hobby they are going to be a little bored and perhaps feeling a bit frustrated/angry/sad as they can't think of anything to do with their free time. So be proactive here and organise some alternatives for screens.

You know your children best so parent like you and organise things that you think they might enjoy. Some examples include (but are not limited to):

  • An arts and craft/writing/drawing area

  • Extra sports equipment - balls, skipping ropes, tramp, table tennis table

  • Board games/card games - uno is great

  • Fort building equipment - blankets, pegs, cushions, large boxes, tape, wood, hammers nails etc.

  • Lego, blocks, duplo - any open-ended building equipment

It's a good idea to rearrange your play space so things seem fresh and inviting - put a whole bunch of things away in the garage even, so there is plenty of space to enjoy these screen free activities.

For more information on how to get your children engaged in these new activities watch the master class in the 'How to reduce your kid's screen time tool kit'

Create your new screen time routine

Once you have made the most of your screen free reset then you can set up a new screen time routine that feels 'right' for your family. After this reset period you have a clean slate to create whatever kind of routine/system you like.

Why not have another family meeting to discuss what this will look like for your family?

Will you have screen free zones, or screen free days/periods? How will you keep everybody accountable?

One fantastic way of doing this is to create a family agreement that is created as a collective and is signed by everybody. Fore information on how to do this successfully with your family watch the master class in the 'How to reduce your kid's screen time tool kit'.

So what do you think? Are you ready to make that transition from the screen intense holiday period to a fresh, new, healthy screen time routine for this school year?

Its a lot easier than you may think. The main thing to remember is to take your children along for the journey. Work WITH them to break their existing screen habits and replace these with a healthy, manageable system that is created by you as a family unit.

The screen free tool kit is available for purchase at and is just $34.95 (FOR A LIMITED TIME, SPECIAL ENDS FRIDAY) - this includes a very comprehensive master class which provides you with all the theory and practical advice on how to reduce your children's screen time successfully AND it also includes all of the tools you need to make it happen.

Make that transition from screens to school today!

Kirsty Foster is an experienced early childhood teacher, Primary School teacher, Montessori teacher and passionate RIE/Pikler educator.

She is also a proud mum to 3 awesome boys (and 1 pup), wife to husband, Andy and Founder and Family Coach here at Parent Like You.

Kirsty's teaching and coaching experience, combined with her own personal parenting experience and her intuitive nature, provides her with an amazing gift for empowering parents to overcome their everyday parenting challenges.

For more information on digital courses, resources, articles, or personalised support visit

Or join her Facebook group for free tips, strategies an support- Overcome Parenting Challenges with Kirsty Foster