If you’re like me, when the kids start to throw tantrums over their devices… it’s time for a screen time fast. Here are some practical tips on how to reset screen boundaries in your home:
Are your kids resistant to doing anything off screen?
Do you struggle getting them off their devices?
Behavior seeming to be off the rails?
If your child is using screens a lot, a fast may be the ticket. Let’s dive into benefits and how to have a fast.
Make it a Positive
Now, I understand that no kid is going to be “overwhelmingly happy” about their technology being taken away for a period of time.
However, presenting this concept of a fast in a positive light can ease some of the pain.
Kids get extremely attached (in an addictive way) to their screen time. Giving them some practical knowledge about this problem and how to overcome it is a powerful life skill that Weil serve them well.
Spin it to a positive. Make it about growing, learning, and achieving some mental clarity.
Be real and honest with them about the effects of too much screen time, but also amp up how good they are going to feel without that mental strain every day.
Here are some examples of things you could say:
- I’ve noticed that you’ve gotten really attached to you (gameboy, video game, phone, tablet, etc.). This week is a a great time for us to break free of it for a bit and clear our minds. There’s so much to see and do and I’m looking forward to this week with you.
- We are going to try something new this week. It’s not a punishment but I’m going to test you a bit. Let’s go technology free for a few days to reset our minds back on spending time together as a family.
In just 15 minutes a night (while you’re in your pajamas!) take your home (and heart and mind) from stressed out to organized.
You can expect some hesitation, even extreme disappointment, from kids when presented with a screen time fast.
The won’t want to do it. The harder they push back, the more you know that it’s time to break free for a bit.
Re-Establish Some Needed Routines
Do you feel like the kids are begging for their devices all day long? Have you walked into the living room just to find them back on their tablets after telling them to go play outside?
Chances are they need a routine set to capture their time and steer them away from chasing their screen time- every second of every day.
When left on their own (or presented with the opportunity), kids are 99.99% of the time going to go jump on their device. It’s fun and very addicting.
Certainly, re-establishing some routines into their “free time” each day can take up some of this space and prevent them from running on default to the screens.
Here are just a few ideas that may fit into an afternoon routine:
- Quiet reading time
- Dinner prep
- Music practice
- Arts & crafts
- Outside play
- Board games with the siblings
Setting and holding to some routines is a great way to keep a screen time fast for kids.
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Spend More Time Outside
The other day I overheard someone telling a story about how his childhood was in the backwoods of Mississippi. Him and his cousins would spend all weekend playing down the dirt road, fishing, climbing trees, etc. This got me thinking about how different cousin time usually goes in this generation of kids.
Typically, cousin time today looks like kids laying on the floor of their living room on their devices. Am I right?
Firstly, I’m a believer that one of the best things you can do with kids is teach them how to spend quality time outside. It could be playing hide-n-go-seek, exploring, ball, or whatever.
Secondly, it’s nearly impossible to play on your devices outside. The sun shines on the screen and you can’t see it. You get distracted by the wind, birds, etc.
In conclusion, playing outside is a great way to start a screen time fast for kids.
Provide Other Opportunities
Kids can be dramatic
The first thing the are going to say when you present them with a screen time fast is this: “What are we going to do?”
Then they will say, “I’m going to be so bored.”
My answer is pretty snarky actually. I respond with, “If you don’t know how to play or have fun without your device then you don’t need it at all.”
After that has been established, I try my best to spin it to a positive. I will provide lots of other fun things to do with that “bored time.”
It’s amazing to see how much the kids minds open up when they aren’t bombarded with their technologies. You will see some real creativities and strengths start to show. It’s awesome!
Be the Ultimate Example
A screen time fast for kids becomes irrelevant when the adults in their life aren’t giving them a good example to follow.
It’s our job, as the parent, to prepare our kids for life. Consequently, we should model in our own actions how to put down our devices and be present.
I saw a sign in a restaurant once that said, “Our WIFI is off. Put down phones and pretend it’s 1990. Talk to each other.”
This got me thinking about how quickly our lives have changed in revolve around social media, phones, and technologies. We literally don’t know what to do without them.
On the same token, our kids will never know what it’s like without them. So…
- We have to show them that life goes on without devices.
- It’s our job to teach them communication skills (and how to play) without screens.
- Having a screen time fast for kids (reset) is a great way to incorporate these skills into life.
Want your days to feel more peaceful (less stressful) with plenty of time to care for your littles AND for yourself?
Well, I’ve got a foolproof strategy for you and it’s this: ROUTINES 🕑
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Set Parental Controls
First off, my opinion is that there is no 100% effective parental control you can put on your kids devices.
There are always loopholes…
Rest assured, they will find them. Our kids are so smart and tech savvy. It’s just the way it is.
You know what else? They are only getting smarter.
Supervision (allowing your kids to use their devices in a set location such as the living room) is key to their safety.
During a screen time fast, be sure to check whichever parenting control you have placed on your kids devices. It can be a great time to test their accountability and honestly.
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