As parents, we worry about the amount of time our family spends starring at their devices. Family screen time seems to be increasing year after year. According to a study, 77% of parents feel like their family and teens are more distracted by devices and don’t spend enough time together. 41% of teens feel like their parents are distracted by devices and don’t spend enough attention to their families. We don’t want to get into a lecture about how bad technology is for you, but if you feel like your family is plugged in to much, here are some ways to reduce that.
8 Ways to Reduce Family Screen Time
Here are some simple ways you can reduce family screen time:
- Start With a Plan – Your family didn’t just begin to spend more time on their screen over night. These habits and behaviors have been cultivated over time. If you seriously want to see a change, you need to know it is going to take time. Start with a plan that is realistic for your family. You are all in this together. Get everyone’s input and develop a plan together so everyone gets their buy in on it.
- Get Your Spouse on Board – That is right. You need to be a united front in your home if you are going to want to make this work. We aren’t going to have anyone playing mom against dad here. You are all in this together.
- Work With Your Kids – Creating a realistic plan is going to take everyone’s help. Start with a family meeting. This is not a punishment, it is a way to get more out of your day by spending quality time together. Ask your family what they enjoy doing together. Ask them what technology they enjoy the most. Create your plan from this.
- Lead By Example – As parents, we need to lead by example. We need to all agree to a plan and support each other in our efforts. We can’t tell our kids to get off their phones when we are constantly on ours.
- Don’t Just Unplug – This is the fun part. You need to fill your screen time with different activities. What does your family like to do? Listen to music, participate in sporing events, or play games. Getting off your screens will allow your family more time to laugh and talk like you used to.
- Be Mindful and Don’t Give In – Like anything else, unplugging is going to be a challenge. We have all made looking at our screens a habit and when we are bored, it is easy to quickly fall back into looking at our devices. Having a list of activities can be useful. If someone slips up, quickly get back into your new routine.
- Encourage, Incentivize, and Reward – This is supposed to bring your family together so have fun with it. It will be hard to remember because everyone will be going through technology withdrawal. Once you get past the sting of the matter, you will be reminded of why you started this experiment in the beginning. Experiment life by having good old fashioned fun is not a bad lesson to be reminded of.
- Create Boundaries Around Technology – Once you have taken a break from technology for a bit and are ready to plug back in, remember that you and your family get to create the rules around it. Technology is not a bad thing, it just needs to be controlled like anything else. We get to decide how much or how often we want to allow our family to spend on it. We live in a digital age and technology is advancing every year. Decide today what technology looks like for your family and make sure you all agree to it.