4. Fill the Time You Would Play on Your Phone with Another Activity
Slide 3 of 3
I get that there can be some very long days at home, especially when your kids are young. Sometimes your phone is the only access you have to the outside world. A way to stop your phone from sucking all the free time out of the day is to replace that wasted time with more intentional activities.
For example, if late afternoons are the worst part of your day and all you want to do is check out, that would be a great time to load everyone into the stroller (or force your big kids up) and get a walk in together. Walking is an easy change of scenery and usually offers prime space to have some good conversation with your kids. Another late afternoon go-to for us is baking! We often bake a treat or snack for the next day before we make dinner. My kids love helping me mix and measure all the ingredients. When we cook together, I also feel like I am giving them some slightly healthier snack options, which is always a win!
Identify times of the day that you are most tempted to check out and get pulled into the vortex that is the internet and begin to fill it with more valuable activities that you can do with your kids.
5. Model How to Have Healthy Technology Boundaries for Your Kids
One of the most important parts of all this is for us as parents to model how to maintain proper boundaries with technology for our kids. Technology, I think, is one of the most difficult things to navigate as a parent today! I can't tell you how many times a day I worry my kids have watched too much TV, played too many video games, or that I have not been as present as I should be with them because I was consumed with being productive online.
The world our kids are headed into is one in which technology is available to them 24/7. We need to show them how and why limits are important when it comes to technology use. I talk to my kids almost daily about why we limit their TV time and screen what they can and cannot watch. These conversations come to us so often, mostly because they want to spend more and more time behind a screen than we allow as they get older.
We all need this reminder because it is so easy to let technology do the parenting for you. There is a lot of danger in allowing our kids or ourselves unlimited access and screen time. Sleep issues, depression, obesity, and anxiety are just a few problems that become more prevalent in our homes when we don't have a healthy relationship with our screens. We have to be the boss of our screens and be the parents of our kids. Intentionality and wisdom on how, when, and what we allow in our homes when it comes to screens is so important.
I encourage you to take some time and think about what your vision of healthy screen time for your home would look like. Then start putting boundaries in place to help you achieve this vision. Just remember, none of us are perfect at this! There are some days where I have spent too much time on my phone or allowed the TV to be my babysitter… and my kids are doing just fine. The important thing is that we put in place guardrails for all of us, so most of our days are spent intentionally being connected rather than unintentionally being distracted by all those dings and feeds!
Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Hal Gatewood