These days down time means screen time for most of us, adults and children. If screen time is a point of contention for your family, especially in the evenings after you gather back in the house after work and school, here are a few strategies that can help alleviate the problem.
Ask questions: Ask your children what interests them. Are there places and people they want to visit? Are there projects they would like to do offline?
Define rules: Remember you’re the boss. And you reserve the right to tech free times and zones in the house.
Take control: Tech is a choice. You cannot outsource to the big tech to take care of our problems, yes Big Tech companies are coming up with device time control strategies but change has to start in our homes.
Don’t give up: Making policy changes over night and dropping our device addictions cold turkey will not work. So, make habit changes gradually, that way they have long lasting effects.
Become aware: Do your research about what all can be done to fight excessive screen time, whether on phones or gaming consoles. Did you know that many video game consoles have screen time limits that you can set?
Show alternatives: Kids can be taught that there are alternatives to an online life that they haven’t thought of. Show them the spirit of board games, power of sharing ideas and socializing in person by hosting a picnic or a dinner party.
Model good behavior: Agree or not, kids are a product of our influences on them. They watch our every move and make their own conclusions. They see us dealing with our free time in one way or another and they emulate.
Boring is good: Learn and teach the power of boredom. A few silent minutes each day for reflecting on our actions and activities helps us connect dots and understand patterns in our behavior. Its a proven way to enhance creation and innovation in ourselves.
Create not consume: When children are on their screens, ask them if they want to create content that excites them rather than consume everything they come across passively. It can be a great way to show their talent and pursue their interests.
Question the need: Ask children what is driving them to their devices. Teach them the power of doing something meaningful with resources like time and energy. They will listen. Maybe not the first time, but eventually they will.
Take them out: For the first time, maybe in a few years, step into a physical library and show them the space that’s been a defining one in the lives of so many successful leaders.
Get help with chores: Ask children to help around the house. Ask them to take the dog for a walk because that’s one way they can contribute towards family responsibilities. For fun, teach them some cooking skills by showing them how to make their favorite dish.
By teaching children time is not just there to kill but to be spent well, we can create an awareness mindset in them to use their devices and their time intentionally.