True Parent Struggles: Screentime (Episode 90)
Introducing a new series! We dubbed this "the 7 deadly sins of parenting..." and then decided it's more a struggle than a sin! Over the next few episodes, we're going to address some of the biggies - and today, it's all about screentime! How do you navigate it in your home? Is it taking over?
In this episode, we tackle how to manage screentime...and it's not just for kids
Answering this listener question:
Recently we got this listener question in:
I feel like I’m constantly fighting with my children regarding screentime. It seems like anything we do as a family is more of a bribe as they wager winning screen time for the “sacrifice” of having to put it down and clean up the house or engage in conversation. How do I keep it from taking over my home? What tech rules do you hold in your household?
So let's dive in - how do you handle screentime so it is an asset in your home and not a thorn you navigate around?
Pin for later:
Are we really discussing screentime usage...
or addiction management?
Where are we this week?
When we come to YiaYia's house, we have to bake! The girls love to bake, so we took our inspiration from the baking shows and each one tackled a different delicious cupcake concoction. Peanut butter & Chocolate, Cheesecake Chocolate Chip, and Lemon Blueberry...they were wonderful!
Follow us on our journey on Insta as the FieldTripGypsies!
Do you regulate...or emulate?
Maybe this isn't just about regulating your children. Like Nathan said, this is more about "addiction management" than it is looking at the pros and cons of screentime. And the biggest element here? YOU
Parents, you are the example. Be the adult. If you want your child to model healthy screentime regulation, you have to SHOW them. Not tell them, but SHOW them by the example you lead in your own life.
Tips for how YOU can be the example:
Sometimes, we get so amped up about the future and so focused on career goals that we forget the significance of just basic life skills. If you want your children to gain experience navigating adulthood, it's a 3 step process:
- Be aware yourself. Observe how others are sucked in around you. Notice the distraction in others. Your awareness becomes your child's awareness. If they see the lack of connection and people lost in their own worlds online, they will start to feel the power of truly being present.
- Turn off notifications on your phone. YOU decide when you will get sucked in vs. it controlling you. (Remember this is two-part. Shut it off...and then move to step number 3).
- Get intentional about your timing. Have specific tech times. Don't just push it off and don't make time for it. Be clear on when it IS okay to be on technology, and exactly what kind. Do this for everyone - veg time, intentional time, etc. And, also enforce clear no tech times. Maybe it's even a full tech-free day.
Some additional resources for you
Instead of everyone pulling out their phones, choose one person to be photographer and then share photos - it takes some of the attention off of everyone reaching for their phones all the time, and it creates a community that is helping one another.
Put Parameters around Tech Time
Don't make it an ambiguous battle. Be clear on when you CAN do it.
What is the purpose of tech? Have you identified it? Is it your work/income? Education?
Find a balance - how do you manage vs. go to extremes. Think about food - how do you handle it so it doesn't control you? Too much or too little can be detrimental - so you have to really look at your relationship to it.
Teach your children awareness - to observe what is around them
Consider the extremes - all or nothing. I know that binging on TV all day can make everyone aggressive and irritable. How do you experience moderation?
Think about Food
Food can be extreme. You can see when someone has had enough or too much. Yet even with it's misuse, it's key in our lives. We have to learn how to manage it, and manage any tendency for addiction (whether it's an eating disorder or eating toward obesity).
If you (or your children) aren't able to identify when they've had enough of tech time - just like food - then you need to build a life where you have control of it vs. it controlling you. Put some guidelines around what is healthy.
Your Weekly Challenge:
Spend a week simply doing an audit of screen time - how much are you all on it? For what purpose? How much time/energy is it taking up?
Take the next two weeks to enforce a new game-plan! How much time do you want to have devoted to screens? Put clear parameters around it. Get back to that intentional family. Go back to your family vision.
Get to know your child and what they want to do...and keep in mind their own beautiful personality style. The uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.