Parent Coach Erin Taylor and Daddy's Digest have teamed up to bring parenting tips and guidance to parents around the world!
Here are her top tips for managing screen time at home.
Role Model the Digital Behavior You Want Your Child to Develop
Children are great at copying, so give them responsible and socially-acceptable digital behaviors to copy. This may require taking an uncomfortable look at things such as what we actually post on social media or how much time we are on our phone, for example.
Set Healthy and Effective Boundaries Around Technology
Let your children be part of the discussion. If they have been part of the process, they are more likely to adhere to the boundaries that were created in part by them. This is so true, especially with teens. Do your best to get them involved in decision-making, as it increases their buy-in and makes it that much more likely that they will abide by the boundaries, when it comes to screens (or anything really).
Encourage Your Children to be Creators and Not Just Consumers of Technology
Find outside-the-box ways for them to use it positively and spark their inherent imagination and curiosity. This one is probably the most important in my opinion. The possibilities are endless for creation with technology. Many of the jobs that our children will have do not even exist yet. If we hold on to a negative view of technology and put that on our children, we could be discouraging them from potentially finding what they may want to do when they grow up. Embracing technology in this way will dramatically reduce the power struggles you may be having around the topic.
“Empowering Children to Develop Skills to Regulate the Amount of Screen Time They Can Cope With”
This may be possible for some with parental guidance, but it may be tougher for others. Take the time to know and understand your children. Teach them to be attuned to their feelings as they spend time on their devices.
Digital Games Should Only be Played Once All Non-Preferred Activities are Done (i.e. Homework, Chores).
Remember, it is okay for your children to be bored and don't let them turn to devices to bail them out from facing their boredom. It's too easy to turn to this and dampen their imagination to think for themselves and come up with an alternative real-world game to play. On the other hand, some kids do well with a break after school to do something like play a video game before diving into homework. Again, you need to figure out what works best for your child. What works for one child may not work for the other.
Not Responding to Your Phone While Your Child is Engaged in A Conversation with You.
If your child sees you answer your phone while you are mid-conversation with them, they are going to think it is acceptable. As challenging as it may be to do otherwise, we must give them our full attention. They deserve nothing less. That being said, if they come to you when you are in the middle of something, tell them that you really want to hear what they have to say, but you need a minute to wrap up what you are doing. This shows respect to them and asks them for respect to you.