Ever feel like you have a spare family member? The phone, the ear buds or the tablet seem to be the unwanted houseguest that never leaves? Rather than kick that tech to the curb, here’s 5 ways you can welcome screen time with open arms and a clear-cut plan.
- Be Picky
Don’t be afraid to pick and choose what your kids watch or play on their electronic devices.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute says, “Many households have rules about how much time children are on screens, but very few households have rules about what children are doing on screens… It’s all about the content.”
- Set New Limits
Look at time on technology from a different perspective. Rather than getting your kids off the device, make sure they are engaged in active play for at least two hours a day.
- Create a Digital Curfew
Dr. Christakis says screen time should stop at least an hour before bedtime. The light from screens suppresses melatonin, key to helping us sleep.
- Consider what is Being Displaced
Not all screen time should be treated equally. Cell phones at the dinner table take away from family conversation. Letting a child use a tablet on a long flight may distract from tantrums or kicking the passenger’s seat in front of you. Evaluate each situation before deciding all technology is bad.
- Be the Example
Do you check your phone every few minutes? Are you plugged in when you play with your kids at the park or sit down to dinner as a family? It’s going to be a lot easier to establish rules with your family, if you are the first to follow them.
You can read more about Dr. Dimitri Christakis and his suggestions for defining screen time with your family here.