Have you ever felt like screens were creeping in and taking over? Need a little “bring it back home” talk when it comes to screen monitoring your kids and … yourself! Don’t worry, this is super duper common. Screens are not always the enemy but letting screens takeover can make life seem, chaotic!
When it comes to screens and technology you have to remember who is truly in control and the whole mindset of authority over the use of screens is a good place to start!
50 years ago screen monitoring was not a thing cause, well they didn’t really have screens in the home. But somehow everyone survived and if you think back to that life you can picture things being a little slower and more simple. Is that a coincidence or could there be a connection to less screens causing a slower lifestyle?
A few years back, almost 5 years actually we went screen free and I’m about to share part of my story through some fun Q&A that I’ve gotten over the years from you. Some common screen monitoring, screen detox, and screen free questions that I’m totally open about.
Let this be an alternative to the way you’re doing things. NOT that you have to do it this way but that there is someone else in the world doing it this way and it’s kinda working. Not always but for the most part this is how we live.
I equate a huge part of my unhurried living to going screen free and I never planned for it to be that way. Now I would never change a thing.
Q- Have you always been screen free or did you have to dial it back?
A – No, I have not always been screen free! In my childhood we did not have a lot of screens in my family. I grew up with two bothers and they often got control, so I didn’t get much screen time. Also growing up, we didn’t have personalized screens, we just had the family TV. Becoming screen free just came to me in an aha moment and having a want to be different. When my oldest son was two I decided to go screen free, so my other kiddos have never known screens.
Q – Are you screen free?
A – Mostly, my one exception for screens is my work and sometimes during my free time I’ll get on my phone, but I have dialed back a lot!
Q – Is your husband screen free?
A – Not really, he controls his screen time.
Q – Where do you get your news and updates from?
A – My husband. I will ask him for weekly updates and he will fill me in!
Q – What do your kids do while you make dinner or take a shower ha
A – When my oldest was still using screens, I had him watch dump truck videos on the floor while I showered. When we went screen free I found routine was the best thing. Meaning, they would just play with their toys instead of watching a video. Trust me, it is a complete minefield with books, towels, and toys and I have to clean it up. Sometimes it feels like oh just another thing to do, but I remember that this stage of life is short and I should enjoy every second.
Q – Are you worried about depriving your kids of childhood stories and movies?
A – Honestly, no if there’s a movie or a show I want to share with them, I will get the book or we will listen to it. This takes a little more work, but I think reading with them is so precious and so sweet.
Q – as your kids get older do you think they’ll feel left out from their peers by being screen free?
A – When I gave up on screens, I discovered a book called the Tech Wise Family. This is a great book if you are the least bit interested in a screen free lifestyle. He does a great job of explaining the science behind it and the benefits. They have a rule that when their kids reach double digits, they’ll have family movie night. As a past elementary teacher, I know that when kids are young they’re still developing a lot and once they hit double digits, they solidify more. I think when we hit this mile stone we will revisit this idea!
Q – how do you suggest doing a screen detox?
A – A screen detox is one of the best ways to test out a screen free life style. For this detox it is important to have a start and end date and you have a plan to be open about purging screens from your life during the dates you set for yourself. I think it is super important to be open with your kids (young and older) about the effects screens can have on out lives. It isn’t going to be easy, but if you come in it with a plan and have your start and end dates it’s easy to show your kids how and why you’re doing it for.
Q – what are your best screen free tips?
A – Having other things for both you and your kids to do. I got a lot of this from the Tech Wise Family, he talks about being in the most lived in areas of your life. If you want your kids to know and love music, you wouldn’t have the instruments hidden away in a basement, you would have them out for them to use and practice. Often front and center in the living room there is a TV and its sending the message that this is what’s important to us. I want to encourage you to have crafts or something important that gives your kids access to something other than a screen. We have books everywhere because I want them to be able to pull one out whenever they want to look at them.
Q – have you ever caved or given in?
A – I do make an exception when we go visit my family because we have to fly. Sometimes the best flight doesn’t coordinate with the best timing, so we do bring the family i pad with us and they will watch an episode or two of something they enjoy. I also make sure to pack them things to do in their back packs so we can have a little screen time, then take a break to color or have a snack. They understand that these are our boundaries around screens and I don’t think I’m being hypocritical by letting have a little screen time twice a year. This is just what works best for our family.
Q – What was the hardest part about when you first went screen free with your kids?
A – We stopped cold turkey, which is something I don’t recommend. But after a few days with some minor adjustments like more books and toys we were adjusted and ready to go!
I hope you’ll take time to simply evaluate where you are on your screen monitoring and usage journey. Screens are not bad. Technology is not bad. But how we use it can alter our lives. Our intent can be good but for some reason screens seem to make us forget a lot of things.
None of this is to make you feel guilty or to tell you I’m doing it right and you’re doing it wrong. Of course not! All I want to do is present you with an alternative. Sometimes when we’re stuck it’s hard to see things from a different perspective or to feel like this is the only way.
You don’t need to be extremely controlling about screens and you don’t need to be completely out of control either. Find what works best for your family and remember you’re the parent. Kids may want one thing but you can see and know that they need something else. This is why we don’t let them eat Halloween candy for dinner every night. Even though they want to, we provide them with healthy dinners!
Even though kids may think and say they deserve screens it may not be a healthy choice at the moment for them or your family. Kids adapt much faster than you may think. A screen detox may seem torturous but if you approach it correctly and with a plan it can be a huge blessing for everyone!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on screens and screen monitoring. Take time to share with me over on Instagram or Facebook in our Facebook community where you’re at with screens. And if I didn’t answer your question ask me over there!
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