If you’re concerned that your children are getting too much low-quality screen time, you can try a screen time diet. Try it for a few weeks to see if there’s a difference in how you and your children feel and act. If you see positive results, keep going.
You can cut screen time cold turkey, but slowly cutting back on screen time may lead to fewer meltdowns, especially if your children (and you) are used to using screens to soothe big emotions.
You’ll need to set a good example, so be prepared to address your own screen time habits. One of the most important things you can do is demonstrate a tolerance for quiet time without needing to scroll through your phone.
Ask Alexa to play some music and listen to it closely. Keep Sudoku or crossword puzzle books in the living room and tackle one instead of playing Farmville. Or just sit and close your eyes for a little while. If you need to do something purposeful with your phone, like look up directions or check a restaurant menu, announce what you’re doing, so your child knows why the phone is out. Show that it’s a tool, not an escape.
Before kicking screens to the curb, make sure you have a list of alternative activities planned. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
Parents have tons of tools at their disposal to limit screen time. We recommend a multi-layered approach.
To help your kids put their devices down, create screen-free zones throughout your home. Decide what makes sense for your family, and be prepared to follow the rules yourself.
For example, you might designate bedrooms as screen-free zones and insist on no screens being present at the dinner table.