“Can I watch a movie?”
That’s the first thing my kids say to me every day. There’s no “good morning”—just an automatic scramble to the television. My usual response of, “No, not right now,” is always met with a whiney, “Awwww.”
I’m embarrassed to say that my kids spend way too much time with media. But by the end of a long day, when I’m totally exhausted (or sometimes just feeling lazy), it’s so easy to give in to their begging. After all, it’s the only way I can get some peace and quiet! A few months ago, there was a KIWI magazine article about a family who took a challenge to go technology-free (click here to read the article). It got me thinking about how tech-dependent my family is, and what I could do about it.
As a parent, I feel like it’s my job to teach my kids about healthy balance in life—especially when it comes to the digital world. Technology can be extremely beneficial, but too much of anything can be dangerous. I want my little ones to understand the importance of human interaction and appreciate nature. I also hope to teach them how to develop self-control, so they can maintain a healthy balance in their own lives.
Is cutting out technology completely the solution? I don’t think so. But there are a few small changes my family is attempting in order to make a difference in our daily habits. Check out my family’s new tech rules below:
1. No devices during family time: My husband and I have agreed to unplug when we’re together as a family. This helps us set an example and stay focused on our kids.
2. Set a time limit: We’re cutting off the amount of time we allow our kids to watch movies or play games, and trying to stick to it.
3. Chores before screen time: Before settling down with a movie, my husband and I ask our daughter to clean her room and do various chores. The most surprising feat of this new rule? Ella will sometimes come across an old toy she hasn’t seen in a while, and instead opt to play with that instead of a device.
4. Don’t give in: My kids are super persistent, and sometimes I find myself saying “yes,” just to stop them from asking again! Still, it’s important to stay strong. My newest trick? I tell my kids if they ask me again, they’ll lose their privileges completely. It doesn’t always work, but I know the consistency will pay off.