5 Ways to Set Your Family up for Screen-Time Success in Your Home
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.
Set up screen time or an app like Bark on your family devices and then use this data to start a conversation about why 5 hours a day on Tik Tok may not be the best use of time.
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?
I would love to implement this box while my kids are young. I want them to understand the Tablets are for school use only right now, and maybe one game right after completing all homework. The box would be great so they know where to store it when they’re done using it!
Hi Erin! You are the winner of the personalized Unplug box! Check your email inbox for details. Thank you to all of you who participated!
My kids are young and sometimes don’t understand why tech needs to be limited. This would make it fun snd help us remember to unplug. It would also help my husband and I!!! We do everything on our phones too and we need to set the example for them snd unplug ourselves in order to be more present!! It would show them we hold ourselves to the same standard.
I need this box so that my family can make connections with each other once again. The box is a visual reminder to put technology away and plug into each other!
This is so cute and would be a lovely way to get everyone to go tech free for a bit and then actually know where the device is later!!!
I love the idea of having this box to collect my kids’ devices. We bought the old fashioned alarm clocks like you suggested, but they are still so attached to their electronics especially during free time. I really want them to find other things to occupy their time like reading a book or playing a board game. This would be a great visual reminder to not let them take their devices into their rooms when they go to bed.
I have been wanting to get my family an unplug box. My kids are young and I want to begin good habits now. I want to raise them knowing the importance of face to face interaction and to be able to hold a meaningful conversation. I don’t want their attention taken up by a screen. I think it’s important to be intentional with this. This box would be perfect. I also think it would help my husband and me to be more mindful about unplugging after the kids go to bed too. I haven’t seen an unplug box with a lid before. I love that feature about it.
I want my toddler to know that she is our focus, not our phones. I love the idea of putting phones away so she is the sole recipient of our time and attention.
We were a tech free family of 6, but with school now we have many laptops laying around and no good spot to put them so they are out of the way:)