The sayings like “Monkey see, monkey do” or “Actions speak louder than words” are pretty accurate when it comes to the way children interpret the world around them.
We can be super well-intentioned, proactive at setting clear boundaries for our kid’s screen time, have the Internet usage limits set and everything, and then, model some less than impressive screen habits of our own which disempower the healthy messages we voice.
Looking at our own habits is really important in creating a healthy screen culture in our homes.
Here are some ideas to help shift your screen habits from “Do as I say not as I do”, to becoming a screen usage inspiration by practicing what you preach.
Creating healthy screen habits
- Mindfulness, when you hear your phone whether its a call or a notification think about whether it is the right time to answer or read it.
- Create boundaries for yourself, like, I won’t answer or look at my phone when I am spending time with my kids, partner, or friends.
- Talk to your family about the changes you are making. It is great for kids to hear their parents identifying and owning problematic behavior in themselves, and actioning a solution!
- Ask your kids what they think, do they notice you on your phone often? how do they feel about it?
- Ask your kids for permission. If you want to share a picture or post about them, get their consent first. We want our kids to grow up understanding consent in every domain of their life!
- Leave your phone at home! what? wait? what if there’s an emergency, or if a miss an important message… I guess the smoke signals may have to do.
- When you’re with your kids and you hear a notification, intentionally voice “I’m going to turn those notifications off, it’s interrupting our time together”, that solidifies the importance of being present with the people we are physically with, especially our children.
- Choose one screen to look at. If you’re watching a movie, focus on that.
- Consider why you pick up your phone. Is it boredom, dopamine, communication, or work? You’ll find often it’s unconscious behavior driving your screen habits.