Screen time was already hard enough to keep to a minimum before COVID, but after work, school, and social lives transitioned to online, hours of screen time became nearly unavoidable. Are you concerned about the amount of time your children are spending in front of a screen? Here are a few tips on how to reduce screen time that can help the whole family.
1. Set Reachable Goals
You can’t expect your kids or yourself to go from several hours of screen time a day to just one, so set smaller goals to help you reach your end goal. As a first step, you might try setting limits on certain devices. If your family is used to spending three hours watching TV, see if you can cut it down by half an hour. Once they’ve mastered that, keep cutting down until you get to the desired amount of time. These goals will also teach your children how to reduce screen time on their own.
2. Create Phone-Free Zones
One of the best ways to decrease screen time is setting phone-free zones as a family. These zones/times could include mealtimes, bedrooms, or bathrooms. Brainstorm with your children about their ideas on the best locations or times to set as phone free zones, and start implementing them as a family. Make sure you set an example by not violating the rules by having your phone in the phone-free zones as well, even if you’re doing something work-related. If you don’t stick to the screen time rules, your kids won’t want to either.
3. Enjoy Non-Tech Activities
Your children might like to unwind with a good TV show or video game but try to get your family in the habit of enjoying activities that don’t involve tech. Go for a family picnic, hike, or visit a museum. Let your children take turns picking what the family does so they begin to look forward to these activities. Another thing to consider is making tech down time an option for your kids only a few times a week rather than every day. On the tech free days, encourage them to play outside or hang out with friends.
4. Set a schedule
Make a schedule as a family for when each of you will use technology for fun. This schedule can be something simple like setting aside a thirty minute chunk of time to play a game or to only be on a device after school and other responsibilities are done. When you and your children schedule in tech time and stick to that schedule, you will be less likely to get sucked into being on your device for hours.
Troomi phones offer great tools to help keep you to a schedule. Certain features help you set time limits and other restrictions on devices to encourage your children to stick to the schedule they make. And check out Troomi for more good screen time rules and tech tips.
5. Set Rules Together
One of the most important parts of decreasing screen time is setting good screen time rules together. Your children might wonder, “why should we reduce screen time?” So talk with them about why too much screen time can be detrimental. If your children feel they are part of the rule-making process, they will be more willing to keep those rules. The screen time rules you set can be applicable to your whole family, but it’s also a good idea to tailor some rules for each of your children based on their individual strengths and weaknesses. For instance, you might have a child who is really good about not getting on their phone when they should be doing homework, but they might easily spend hours playing video games. Sit down with each of your children and talk with them about what screen time rules they think will best help them. And make some individual rules for yourself too!