By Sarah Kovac
Technology has opened some amazing doors for humanity: we can instantly talk to friends and family across the globe, we can discover amazing new music and books, and (perhaps most importantly) we can purchase toilet paper online and have it delivered the very same day. What we can’t seem to do is escape technology when we’re overwhelmed by it. It’s so hard to pry ourselves away from all the activity of our phone and TV screens, we often miss out on the activity in front of us.
If you find your family in need of a break from screen time, we’ve got a few suggestions to help you make it happen.
Put your entertainment system on a timer.
If it’s just too easy to default to TV/computer time when it should be family time, consider plugging your electronics into an electrical timer. You can set it to power off all your devices during particular hours, thereby making it much more difficult to slip up in your quest for less screen time. Yes, you can override the timer, but if you have to dig behind all the cords between the entertainment center and the outlet to make it happen, you may find it an effective deterrent.
“Lose” the batteries.
If you want to make your screen time break a little bit more long-term, remove the batteries from your TV and cable remotes, and then hide any spare batteries you have lying around. If someone is willing to go all the way to the store to buy more batteries in order to use the remote for the TV, then they’ve done enough work to probably justify the screen time.
Image ©iStock.com/Claes Dafgård
Use the “Time Out” to Clean Up
This is a great opportunity to make sure all those wires and electronics are clean! Try Swiffer Dusters, which uses Dust Lock Adhesive to clean deep into grooves and around wires.
When you break a habit, it leaves a void in your routine. It can be very unnerving just sitting around when you would usually be entertained. Instead of creating a void, create activity. Plan some cool family events and outings. Participate in some social events in your town, start up a family garden, go visit friends, join a local sports league… Find something fun you can all do together.
Declare the dinner table a “no-phone zone.”
For many families, dinnertime is the only hour of the day when everyone is in the same spot. What a waste when that time is spent checking social media or texting! Reclaim that sacred hour by declaring the dinner table a “no-phone zone.” It might feel awkward at first, and your kids may balk at the idea, but after a while you may find that you actually enjoy speaking with each other. It’s worth a shot, right?
What do you do to cut back on screen time in your family?
Sarah Kovac is a public speaker, journalist, award-winning author of the memoir In Capable Arms: Living a Life Embraced by Grace, wife and proud mother of two. Visit Sarah’s website for more.
Image ©iStock.com/Cathy Yeulet