TECH WISE FAMILY | PARENTING | SCREEN TIME | FAMILY TECHNOLOGY GUIDELINES
Virtual school, remote learning, zoom meet ups, social media, virtual conferences – it seems as though so much of our life now has quickly transitioned to be on a screen! And I don’t know about you, but it has left both myself and my kiddos feeling pretty exhausted.
Some of it we can’t help right now, but some of it we CAN, and I wanted to share with you some of the best resources that have helped shape and inform how we come up with proper age-appropriate screen time boundaries for our kids, and for us as adults.
4 Ways to Get Your Family’s Screen Time Under Control
1. Parent our phones, don’t let our phones parent us
I think I first heard this concept from this millennial thought-leader. But it’s true, if you don’t parent your phone (like put it in timeout, tell it no, etc.) it will parent you. It’s not popular to admit that we’re addicting to our phones, and in fact, I think most of us would say No, I’m not addicted. Except when was the last time that you just went 24 hours without it? It takes A LOT of intentional effort and re-training of our brains to not just instantly reach for our phones – in bed, at the stoplight, during a commercial, etc. – and getting a hold on our family’s screen boundaries really starts with US. We need to parent our phones, or they will parent us.
2. Buy an alarm clock
Yep, it’s a hot take I know. But truly, getting my phone away from my bed so that I can’t use the excuse that it’s my alarm clock has been a game. changer! It is not the last thing I look at before going to sleep, nor the first thing I grab when I get up in the morning. Plus, I want to model the no phones in bedroom philosophy for when my kids are actually old enough to have a phone – because that will most def be a hard and fast discipline we use as a family!
3. Understand the science behind it
Science stuff is way above my pay grade, so I turn to the experts. This book is a quick read on some basic disciplines. This one talks about what it’s doing to our kids’ brains. Or you can watch this to see why you’re really addicted.
4. Recognize alternative ways to find entertainment as a family
I had a friend recently tell me: “but your kids are just so much more independent and creative than mine” and I literally LAUGHED. No, my kids are not creative and independent savants – they are just like your kids! Except, we just TRAIN them to use their brains and eliminate screens as an option. I allow them to check out unlimited books from the library, we have this subscription box that helps us do fun stuff together, and we try to plan actual activities OUTSIDE as a family. Screens are the easy pacifier, but they don’t produce long term fruit in our kids. We learned this the hard way when we went cold turkey a couple of summers ago and eliminated all screen altogether. You can read more about our journey here.
Some other book resources that have helped shape and inspire our family’s screen time usage include this one talking about how other cultures manage it and the result is happier kids, and this controversial New York Times bestseller that gets into a lot of the statistics on kids and families on screens today.
Look, I’m not one of those “you must follow these formulas on screen time for your family or I’ll judge you” type people but I do BEG you as the head of your household, to please at least do you research, understand the effects this is having on you and your kids, and make decisions eyes wide open.