Balancing Screen Time isn’t always easy but with the right tools and monitoring, the right balance can be achieved for every family.
This post was sponsored by Google in partnership with the Forward Influence Network. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’m going to be real honest with y’all. Balancing screen time is not something I am always good at if we are being real with each other.
I mean they are normal kids who want to watch TV and play on their computers, but beyond that I also work from home (sometimes I need them distracted) and we homeschool (they are both in online programs). When you add those things together, it’s easy to see how too much screen time can add up quickly.
But there are ways that we are working to ensure that they are having adequate balance in their lives.
In turn, I’m learning that I too need more balancing in my own life. Isn’t it funny when that happens? We sometimes realize that what we are doing for our kids is actually benefitting us as well? It’s a win-win in those situations if I do say so myself.
Being that I work in a tech driven world, it’s obvious to see how quickly my own time can add up.
So what are we doing and how are we balancing everything?
First, I’m going to be upfront and say that not every day is perfect. Let’s just get that out of the way. This isn’t one of those posts where I’m going to say that everyday we are nailing it. Because that’s not real life.
But these tips will help on *most* days and that’s better than no days. Am I Right?
Why is it important to work on Balancing Screen Time
At the end of the day, what really matters to you? It’s important to find balance in your digital wellbeing because, if we are being honest, most of the things you are doing on the computer/phone/tv aren’t what is important.
This isn’t to say your work isn’t important. But 8/10 times you scrolling through social media or binge watching 10 episodes of the newest season of your favorite show isn’t going to help your wellbeing any (or your kids).
What is going to help your overall wellbeing is getting outdoors more, spending quality time with those that you love, and ensuring that your home space doesn’t feel overwhelming to you.
When you work on balancing screen time and in turn your overall digital wellbeing, then you improve your overall mental health as well.
Whether you are working to minimize distractions or unplug more often in order to be with your family, Google offers tools that can help. You can visit wellbeing.google to learn more.
5 Ways to Work on Balancing Screen Time for Kids (and adults!)
The first three ways are just suggestions and there can be broad ways to think outside of the box on both of them.
Have a designated family time nightly that doesn’t include screens
- For us, this means no phones at the dinner table or around our bedtime routines.
- Most nights it includes family reading time where I read a chapter book to them for a set amount of time or chapters
- It can also include family game nights where we play board games or cards or do some other type of activity
- Sometimes it also includes taking a walk together as a family
No matter what your family time activities include, try to be intention that the hours surrounding dinner and bedtime don’t include screens.
Commit to outdoor play time
- If you are a stay at home parent, this could be a set number of hours you spend outside daily
- If your children are in school, send them outside to play or take them to a park for 30-60 minutes after school every day to get them to decompress naturally from the stresses of school
- Pick a hobby outside together – maybe it’s planting flowers or a garden or building a new play area. Find ways that you can enjoy each other together
- Or find new outdoor activities to try together – like canoeing or snowboarding
Sign your kids up for sports or some extracurricular activity
- We enjoy soccer and maybe gymnastics depending on the time of the year it may be swimming
- However, if your children aren’t interested in sports, find anything screen-free activity that can do. Maybe it’s art classes, lego clubs, baking course, or music lessons.
- The library is a great resource for free screenless activities that your children can participate in.
And finally, the last two are more concrete ways of limiting and balancing screen time for both your children and yourself.
No matter what device you are using – tablet, phone, computers, speaker devices, etc – you should have rules.
It can be as simple as no devices in your room and only 2 hours of screen time a day. Or more detailed rules like no devices after 8pm or only TV on the weekends.
Whatever you do is up to each individual family and will even vary between ages of your children.
We recently learned about Google’s Digital Wellbeing Family Guide and think that everyone should print it out and fill it out the Family Guide poster with their families. It’s such a great tool about screen and being better about your time and devices for the entire family!
We have started to fill out our own and know that as our children grow older it will change, but it could be a great thing to fill out at the start of every school year.
This is a big one, especially for teens and through adulthood, we really need to have limits and sometimes we need reminders of that.
One limit app that I am really loving is the Youtube take a break reminders. You can set in a time limit and when you reach that it will reminder you and suggest that you take a break. We all know how easy it is to just keep clicking. This is even useful for younger kids who love watching their favorite people like Ryan’s Toy Reviews or JoJo Siwa.
Google’s Family Link also allows you to set daily time limits and bedtime hours so you don’t use your devices after those times. You can even remotely lock a device like your teen’s computer so they can’t use it after the limits that you set.
I’m sure you may get a little backlash or some sass if you’ve never set limits before, but it’s up to us all to do better, be more aware and more present for everyone around us.
To discover more tips and tools, visit wellbeing.google to find a balance with technology that feels right for the whole family.
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