28 Aug 10 Ways to Wean Your Family From the Screen
No school, later bedtimes, more free time, more travel- no doubt, your family’s overall amount of time spent on a screen may have crept up over the summer months. With a return to the school routine, you may need to wean your family from the screen with these 10 helpful tips from The Nanny Line:
1. First, Have a Family Meeting.
Rather than springing these changes on your kids, plan to first have a discussion about reasonable limits, brainstorm solutions together, and make sure to listen to your kid’s feedback so that they feel like they are a part of the decision. Reassure your kids that this will be an ongoing dialogue about what is best for the entire family and that established limits can be revised as needed.
2. Make Bedrooms Screen Free.
3. Turn All Screens (and Notifications) off for ALL Mealtimes.
4. Make Kids Earn Their Screen Time.
Screen time can be the payment for doing household chores, reading, practicing an instrument, or time spent playing outside.
5. Model Healthy Digital Habits Yourself.
It might not be easy, but you are going to need to “practice what you preach.” Encourage your children to be “screen police” for you, helping to reinforce the sense that this is a family decision that applies to the entire family.
6. Create a Parking Lot for Electronics in your Home.
Designate a centrally-located off-limits place in the house such as a cupboard, a basket by the front door, or a charging station where all family members “park” their electronics during certain times of the day.
7. Reward Kids for Watching Less Screen Time.
For example, you could set up a ticket system where a child gets a ticket for each totally screen-free day, and once they have a certain number of tickets, they are able to purchase a desired toy, have a special outing, or other desired reward.
8. Set a timer.
This article lays out how to use built-in features to limit screen time on iPhone’s, Android, Xbox, PlayStation, Computers, Tablets, Instagram and YouTube.
9. Turn off screens during homework.
If your child needs to use a computer for their homework, take away all other unneeded screens and turn off other notifications, social media, and non-necessary applications on their computer (like Google Hangouts for example).
10. Don’t charge devices in bedrooms.
Put screens to bed 30 minutes before everyone’s bedtime for better sleep and “park” them in a central charging station so no one will be tempted by buzzing notifications or late night “to do” lists.
Behavior Change is Hard.
We’re not saying you will be the most popular parent after making these changes, but that is o.k. The key is to commit to the established limits with kindness and firmness. Changing a screen time habit is hard: Be ready for disappointment, anger, and sad feelings. Empathize with your children’s feelings, but stick with agreed upon limits.
Looking for ideas for other active, non-screen activities to suggest when they complain that they are bored? Check out this comprehensive list of indoor and outdoor activities for toddlers through tweens from the folks at What We Do All Day, a community of “unplugged” parents.
The Nanny Line’s team of pre-screened, English-speaking babysitters are full of other ways help wean your family from the screen. You can book them online. With all of your family’s new-found screen-free time, explore these Nanny Line recommended playgrounds in Barcelona and Madrid.
Do you have success stories of how you weaned your family from the screen? Mistakes you made that you care to share with The Nanny Line community? We’d love to hear from you on Facebook or in the comments section below.