3. Weekday Round-Ups
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We like to set limits on phone usage in our homes, but we also don’t like the idea of all the phones going into a communal basket and being left by the front door or on the kitchen counter. The fact of the matter is, we also rely on the phones for communication purposes (who would’ve guessed!), so having daughter Megan’s phone sitting on the kitchen counter during the night doesn’t help her if she spots a fire coming from sister Katie’s room. We want the kids to have access to their phones.
So there are a few ways we can weekday round-up the phones without physically removing the device. There are apps available that give parental control to the parent, allowing you to lock down the device after a specific time, permit only educational sites and apps after a specific time, or if you want to show trust in your kid, leaves the phone wide open but does allow you to do a spot check from time to time to make sure they’re obeying the rules. In short, a log of their phone activity is made available for you to review periodically.
In addition to an app, there’s also the concept of building trust. Some kids are actually trustworthy—gasp!—and trustworthiness is only enhanced when you show them you trust them. My daughter sleeps with her phone right by her bed. We’ve checked her phone logs on occasion and for fun, and she’s yet to deviate from the rules. But that’s my daughter. She’s a Type-A personality, so rules are revered, hallowed, and sacred. On the other hand, my son can always find a justification as to why a rule needs to be adjusted. But curiously, having set these firm rules and then given him the trust to honor them with the consequences of losing phone privileges and our trust has kept him in line. So in a way, your own kid can be in charge of their weekday round-up and put that device in for the night without any help from you.
The reality is, devices aren’t going away, and in fact, they’re becoming more integral in daily life. So finding ways to moderate versus dispose of is probably wiser. It’s nirvana to think that will happen easily. No matter what you choose to help remove your child’s face from their device, conflict is bound to rear its ugly head. That’s because these things are addictive.
So last but not least, I’m a huge proponent of including your child in the process of determining what you’re going to do to set limits in your household. Including them doesn’t mean you’re lessening your authority, but you are teaching them self-discipline and determination. Teaching them the value of face-to-face conversations, respect by uninterrupted socialization, and good old-fashioned reading is never a bad thing, but including your child in that process of creating boundaries is even better. It’s habit making, and it will serve them well long into their future.
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