I’ve never been more thankful for technology than I am in 2020. Our devices and connection to the internet allow us regular communication with our college kids and loved ones around the country.
Yet, this same technology that connects us to the vast world also has the power to disconnect us in our own homes if we’re not careful.
It’s been a struggle for me to watch my teenagers in front of screens more often than usual during this pandemic.
Not only have my teens been stuck schooling from a screen, but they’re turning to their devices more often than usual in their downtime too. We certainly can’t blame them, yet we know that the excessive screen use in our home isn’t healthy.
So, what do we parents do?
Here are 5 Ways to Set Your Family up for Screen-Time Success During this Pandemic and Beyond
1. Educate yourself
I know. I know. Ain’t nobody got time for this. But, if we’re going to hand our kids technological devices, we must also educate ourselves about the risks and rewards.
Fortunately, there is a slew of tech experts out there to help us learn from their books, podcasts, and websites. One of my favorites is Disconnected Author and Expert Tom Kersting. Listen in to my interview with him HERE or the podcast episode I did with him HERE.
- Learn about the video games your children are playing. Are they appropriate for their age?
- Do you know what social media apps your teens are on? Are you on the platforms as well?
2. Talk tech around your table
Many of us are merely trying to survive this season of working and schooling from home. Screens may be a part of our survival method, so we need to cut ourselves some slack during these unprecedented times. Yet, it’s vital that we also talk with our kids about this unique season we are in.
Hold a family meeting to talk about technology use specifically. Let your kids know you see them and that you know this time is difficult right now. Talk about what’s working and what you see not working when it comes to technology use in your home.
3. Establish healthy daily digital habits
Technology might be the most significant battlefield parents are facing when raising children today. However, technology is not the problem- our time and habits on our screens are the issues.
Do you know how much time each of your children is spending in front of a screen each day? If not, begin to pay attention.
Remember, none of our children will happily thank us for monitoring and curbing their daily tech use. We should expect some pushback and unhappiness when we establish new boundaries around technology.
Consider drawing up a smartphone or media contract stating your family’s expectations, boundaries, and consequences so that everyone is on the same page.
4. Set up screen-free spaces
Set up sacred areas in your home where no technology is allowed, such as in bedrooms or at the family dining table. Our kids may indeed be spending more time on screens during this season, but that doesn’t mean its a free for all.
Your child may tell you they need to use their beloved device as an alarm, but you can outsmart them by purchasing an old school digital clock for them to use instead. Protect your child’s sleep by keeping all technology out of bedrooms overnight.
Strive to make your family mealtimes sacred in your home by not inviting devices to join you at the table.
5. Invest in visual tools that help you unplug
We can preach, plead, and prod for our kids to get off their beloved devices, or we can set up family routines and systems to help everyone disconnect easier. We often purchase technological devices and then fail to invest in the tools that will help us use them more successfully.
I’m a big fan of investing in tools and products to help our family be intentional with our tech use at home. Cades and Birch’s personalized wooden device holders are a great way to set your family up for screen-free success.
The locked box below is perfect for storing those video game controllers when they are not to be in use. All of their device holders feature a hole in the back to put charging cables through.
What are you struggling with most when it comes to technology use in your home?