How to Reduce Family Time in Front of the Screen (Now That It’s Completely Out of Control)

In a simpler and more innocent time, screen time limitation has been cited by many parents as one of their main parenting concerns. In a 2019 Pew Research Center poll , 71% of parents with a child under 12 said they were concerned about the amount of time their children spend in front of the screen.

That was, of course, before all hell broke out, and we all (rightfully) ditched the idea of ​​screen time caps as we all had to find ways to cope with constraint fatigue, school closures, Zoom fatigue and everything else. more. When raising kids during a pandemic, giving your child a phone to play a game or putting it in front of the TV seems like a small price to pay if that means you’ll be a little less tired at the end of the day. …

But now that we are looking into a more normal future, these old worries about screen time may creep in again. So the question is, how can we cut down on screen time when it has become such a habit?

Incorporate more non-tech rituals into your day

As Sarah Peck, a working mother of two and founder of Startup Parent , suggests, one way to cut down on screen time is to start using some non-tech rituals these days.

“Rituals don’t have to be complicated or lengthy to be effective and meaningful,” Peck said. “Building rituals and routines can help you develop habits that support your goals.”

As Peck points out, if something turns out to be too complex or doesn’t add value to our lives, we simply won’t have the time or energy to do it.

“I like to ask: how can I make it more fun?” Peck said. “I need more fun and joy, not more work.” Even if it’s as simple as spending ten minutes a day alone with your child or partner without any devices, it can make a big difference.

Define Screen Time Expectations

In terms of screen time, Peck has established a family routine that sets expectations for device use. “We have certain times when we all use the devices, and certain times when we don’t use them,” Peck said.

For about an hour after graduation, the entire Peck family will hang out in the living room using their devices. “[It] gives my partner and me time to relax after work and also allows my kids to play a few video games and solve online puzzles,” Peck said.

At a certain time, a timer will go off, signaling two minutes before the end of screen time, after which it is expected that they all remove their devices.

They will then have dinner together, where the use of devices is prohibited. “It doesn’t matter if dinner is three minutes or fifteen minutes, we just sit down together for a short time,” Peck said.

In addition to the allotted time for gadgets and family dinner without gadgets, Peck also realized that her kids needed a little extra energy to burn off at the end of the day. This led to the creation of yet another ritual of rude action in the evenings. “It’s really beneficial for all of us to get some of our physical energy,” Peck said.

These rituals make sense to the Peck family and their needs. Each family will be slightly different, which means that their rituals are likely to be different too. It’s important to develop a habit that works, and it adds meaning. The goal is not to be perfect, but to try to find a routine that makes your family life better.

If you’re tired, give yourself permission to just get over it.

These are suggestions that can help restore the routine and distract attention from our devices. However, as Peck points out, we are all just trying to do our best.

“A lot of parents just survive,” Peck said. “If people are feeling worn out, overwhelmed, worn out, or are still struggling, skip it and just do it.”

If survival is all you have energy for right now, and you don’t have the bandwidth to worry about screen time right now, that’s okay too.

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