Like so many things, digital devices are fantastic – in moderation. As parents, there’s little point in us asking our kids to put down those devices if we’re not going to offer an alternative. An alternative they can get excited about and, better still, something you can be part of yourself. That means being creative. Here are some handy tips for managing your family’s digital exposure and creating space for meaningful interaction:
When it’s time for kids to put down devices, make sure you have an activity at the ready – a game, an activity or even a chore!
Believe it or not the light from screens inhibits the release of melatonin, the hormone necessary for sleep. It’s important to put screens away an hour before bedtime – try it yourself, you’ll sleep better!
No screens in the bedroom means no sneaky apps under the covers. The lights and noises devices produce disturb sleep cycles much more than you’d think. Are there any other places in the house you can make Screen Free?
The Italians say “At the table, no one grows old”. That’s because mealtime is people time, a time to share laughs, exchange ideas and stay up-to-date with the real world. Ring-fence your table, keep the screens at bay!
As we said, the key is ‘moderation’ but what does that mean? The main thing is that you, as a parent, are in control. Decide how much you think is right and fair, then reduce the amount of time your kids are online by 30 minutes a week until you’re at that level. This also gives you more of a chance to monitor and oversee what they are doing online.
Are you a digital role model? Be aware of your own habits and review them accordingly. The most important thing is your interpersonal relationships. If you’re online, you’re not connecting with your kids or anyone else. Try leaving your phone in another room when you’re in company and only check messages when you know you have time to respond without interrupting your interaction with those present.
Ask your network provider about a landline, many of them offer free calls to mobiles and other landlines. Once it’s in place you can divert your mobile calls to the landline. This ensures everyone is accessible through the phone without having SMS and the whole internet at their fingertips!