Navigating technology has become the biggest challenge we face as parents today. As we raise our children amidst the omnipresence of digital devices, it’s not necessarily the gadgets themselves that are the issue; rather, it’s our consumption habits and the time we spend engrossed in screens that demand scrutiny.
In this modern era, it’s imperative that we carve out intentional screen-free time and spaces in our children’s lives, fostering a healthy balance between virtual and real-world experiences.
Here are 3 Ways to Create Healthier Screen Time Habits in Your Home
1. Get honest about your child’s screen time
Do you know how much time you and your children are spending on technology each day?
Thanks to the iPhone Screen Time setting, we can check in to see precisely how we are spending our time. Yikes!
Recent studies of entertainment screen use have found that children spend A LOT of free time in front of screens. My child is proof of this as I couldn’t believe my eyes when I went on Screen Time and saw the numbers for myself. There were many excuses for why this was, but I’m happy to report that we now have this more under control.
Decide now how much time is ‘healthy’ to be on screens for each member of your family; communicate about it and then pivot to set new parameters if needed.
Remember, our goal is to create a greater screen-life balance overall. Summer is just around the corner, equating to even more time spent on devices if we’re not mindful!
2. Establish screen time boundaries
Draw up a cell phone-media contract listing your expectations so that your child can understand that owning a smartphone is a privilege that comes with boundaries.
Taking the time and making an effort to write out your guidelines shows your child that you are in charge and that you don’t consider screen time a light matter in your family. A cell phone media contract helps your child balance screen time with real-time activities by expressing your family’s expectations in writing.
The goal of a cell phone-media contract is merely to open up a dialogue with kids about our beliefs and values when owning an iDevice. It is only a communication tool that is never too late to be introduced to your family, no matter how long your child has already owned a phone.
We must purposely create screen-free environments that support conversation and face-to-face communication. Do you allow phones at the dinner table or in the bedrooms detracting from interaction and family connection?
3. Have a designated home for digital devices
I highly recommend purchasing a customized Unplug box to house your family devices. Ours lives in the laundry room and our kids know what hours they are allowed to go retrieve them and when they need to be placed safely back in their home to recharge for the next time. Setting up a system for screen use in your home is vital to everyone’s health and sanity.
What do you struggle the most with when it comes to raising kids in this digital world we live in?