“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
With the holidays coming up, along with the awesome release of Disney+, it is essential to talk about screen time and how to be wise with your technology. While it is fun to watch Disney movies all day every day, especially the classic favorites, it is simply not a good idea. There are many ways to use technology while maintaining healthy limits.
We are a Disney family, so this blog isn’t only about Disney+. We joined as founding members and are huge fans. This is about limits and raising healthy happy children. In fact, after I hit publish we are totally about to watch The Sword and The Stone together.
Many studies have shown the effects of too much screen time. In some cases, technology and social media use can be linked to depression and anxiety. Other research has found that it alters our sleep and brain function. We tend to sleep less when we have too much screen time. It is also associated with obesity.
However, with how advanced technology is nowadays, many times, screen time can be used for learning new skills, communicating with family, and many more. Each family will have their own guidelines to follow. That being said, screen time still should be managed to ensure the adverse effects are not overcoming the positive effects.
Common Sense Screen Time Family Tips
Here I will show you some common sense screen time tips to use as an entire family! These will help your family enjoy the holidays together and be safe when it comes to screen time. These tips are simple guidelines you can follow to help your family reduce screen time to spend more time together. You will enjoy the upcoming holidays much more, and onward as you continue to use these tips in your life.
Follow Your Own Rules
As parents, we are the primary example for our children. If they hear us talking about not using too much technology, but then see us using it nonstop, it becomes hypocrisy. They will follow our actions more than our words. Therefore, you must follow your own rules and guidelines you give to your children.
If you have a no-phone rule at the dinner table, then you must agree to follow that. If you have a set time you want your kids to put their phones away for the night, you must put yours away as well. This is key to having your children not on technology as much.
Have Set Family Time
This season is filled with many holidays including, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. These holidays are great opportunities to spend time with your family. We have all experienced a family gathering where no one talks to each other and just looks at their device, and it is not fun.
So, this holiday, have a set family time where there are no screens of any type. You can talk and share your favorite stories, play games, or bake together. If your family loves watching movies together, choose one day a week where you watch one movie together. Then, you can keep those traditions while also taking a break from technology.
If your child watches Disney+ or other movies all day long, that is too much time staring at a screen. There are plenty of other activities they can be doing throughout the day. Set a clear limit for their screen. Depending on the age, that will include tv, computers, and phones.
Your limits will be up to you. While many people have suggestions on how much screen time is appropriate, ultimately, you know your children best. Look to see how active they are, if they are getting enough sleep, and spending time with family or friends to determine your limits. These limits will help them to stay healthy in all aspects of their lives.
Setting limits will help them to prioritize their time and choose to do the important things first. However, setting limits is not enough. You have to follow through with them. If you choose 2 hours of tv as your limit, stick with it. Even if their movie is only halfway through, follow the limit. If you give in and allow it once, it will only continue until they are back to watching all day long.
Discuss alternative activities you can do together as a family. Instead of watching a tv show, try playing a card game. Instead of playing a video game, bake something from scratch. You can create something new or go for a walk around the neighborhood. Talk with your children and create a list of the things they are interested in doing. When they want to use their devices, pull out the list, and suggest an alternative.
Not all screen time is terrible, as mentioned above. So, it is not best to completely shut out all screen time and technology. In many ways, it can be beneficial. If you are paranoid about your children’s technology use, use it with them. Find educational apps and learn something new together. This will create a great learning environment as well as have quality time together.
You can also use parental controls to keep your kids away from the bad influences associated with technology, especially with younger children. There are so many unpleasant sites children do not need to see, so make sure to set up your parental controls before allowing them on any devices.
Going along with the family time without devices, have a specific time your family unplugs from everything. It is best to have it before going to bed so that you all can sleep better throughout the night. Unplugging from all devices is a great way to help your brain stay healthy and detox from technology. If you are constantly using it, it will feel weird at first to unplug, but ultimately, it will feel great.
Each family is going to have different limits and screen time usage. What works for one family might not work for another. These tips are just a start and guideline to use to help your family, but there are many more ways you can accomplish this goal as well.
Put your devices away and have a family meeting to discuss these tips and start your holidays off with a great start!