It has been so easy to fall down the screen time rabbit hole throughout this pandemic, but there comes a point where you need to turn it off. It can be a struggle to pry devices off your kids, and often it doesn’t seem worth the hassle all of their friends are on it 24/7!
It seems that teenagers put their phones down for one minute, and it doesn’t stop buzzing with constant pinging dragging them back! This however isn’t the case, and there are many small changes that you can make to your family’s day-to-day life that will make a massive dent in their average screen time report!
Family TV Time
While you might feel this is counterproductive, this is a brilliant way of controlling your children’s screen time! Everyone in the family chooses a show to watch together. It’s not one show per person per night, but one show per week, which makes it a manageable task. This could be a film that someone really wants to watch or an episode of the Simpsons!
If you feel everyone scurries away to their bedrooms after school with their phone, then this is the hack for you! Instigate a ‘Homework hour‘ where everyone sits at the table and sort out the paperwork. If there isn’t any, then read a book or a newspaper.
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This is a good time for children to feel that they can approach you about troubles with homework.
Tally up how much media your children consume
During the summer holidays, there were a couple of weeks where my youngest daughter was on her phone for 10 hours a day! I have never felt so guilty, but it made me realise how important it is to track and monitor how much time they are spending on their devices.
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Modern devices track how much time you spend on them, so it is good to check this about once a week. Don’t get angry if your children spend too much time on them as social media companies are constantly working to try and ensure they stay on there for as long as possible!
One way to tackle the technology trap is by instigating Screen-Free Supper! Setting aside this designated time of day to have no screen time is really good for aiding in family bonding. It also ensures that people talk to each other, and builds it into the family rhythm, making sure that phones stay away from the dining table for years to come!
Schedule a ‘Family Game Night’ once a week! Games like scrabble and perudo are brilliant and fun for all the family! Many of these games will help break up the monotony of a flickering screen and help children to develop better cognitive skills.
The fights that occur over cheating allegations in monopoly will also help to develop better family communication!