9 Things You Can Do to Stop Screens From Taking Over
Our family is totally dependent on technology. Our kids have known how to use devices, practically from birth. Some may say we encouraged the use of computers much too early. Others will argue that we live in a digital age so the skills are essential.
Up until very recently, we homeschooled solely with free resources, found online, and we often use internet-based curriculum. My daughter is learning about programming and wants to pursue it as a hobby. Kids call their friends to play multiplayer games. We use our devices to keep in touch and make plans with family and friends. My husband and I both run businesses that require online time. Although we set time limits and boundaries around screen use, the kids see what we do and naturally follow our examples.
We are a techie family and this isn’t likely to change. Every now and then though, we need a reset. Here are some strategies we use to stop the screens from taking over.
- Set limits – Every family is different. We usually stick to a 30-minute daily limit for computer time and it doesn’t start until schoolwork and chores are finished.
- Take a break from online curriculum – Once every few months, we will veer away from our chosen curriculum to spend time learning about a topic through lapbooking, notebooking, videos and field trips.
- Encourage screen-free Hobbies – If a child starts to develop an interest away from screens, we highly encourage it. Some examples have been drawing, painting, remote control vehicles, biking, swimming and gymnastics.
- Schedule daily outside or fitness time – When our kids overuse screens, they are not getting activity so we make this a priority.
- Increase social visits – Children are naturally social and want to spend time with others. Often they want to play video games together but we try not to make this the focus of every playdate.
- Institute family and one-on-one time – When screens are dominating, we find providing undivided attention, even for just a few minutes, can make a big difference. Of course that has to mean shutting off devices ourselves.
- Model behavior – The reality is that our kids will do what we do. If adults set limits for phone checks and keep computer use to specific times, kids will be more likely to respect those boundaries.
- Set screen-free zones – We usually set devices aside at mealtimes, during homeschool (unless it is specifically curriculum-related) and during devotions (unless we are accessing a bible).
- Declare a screen-free week – Sometimes, I notice that the kids can’t keep their hands off of devices. When the screens start to develop that magical magnetic pull, it’s time to declare a reset. A week or so away, helps us to focus on each other and put our devices back in perspective.
While our family will likely always rely on technology, it’s good to know we can live without it for a time. How do you avoid screen domination in your home?
Shari Talbot is a Freelance Writer from Wasaga Beach, Canada. She currently homeschool two wonderful bobbins, supports her husband in business and blogs at Becoming the Proverbs Woman.