Passionate About Pittsburgh
and the Moms Who Live Here

Limiting Screen Time With Less Effort

So what color are your children’s eyes? Or your husband’s?

Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute to think about it if you can’t remember. If you can’t, I’m not going to judge. I honestly can’t blame you. It’s likely because your family looks just like this.

This is 2/5 of my own family. Trying to get eye contact during a conversation around here is like pulling teeth, even with the biggest kid on the right. Recently we were at a car dealership discussing what to get. Yes, a MAJOR PURCHASE, ladies and gentleman, and I could not get that dear, sweet man to put down his phone and look at me.

I can’t totally blame him. I do the same thing to him all the time. My besties and I have our own thread on Facebook Messenger and the notifications for that thing beeps 24/7 between the four of us (hey, we must let keep each other aware of our lives at all times or we won’t live. Really, who else is going to keep us sane?) However, I can see where the five of us are starting to get out of hand.

I can hear the sanctimommies in my ear now, “well, we just limit screen time. Our children don’t even have phones or iPads. I don’t know how any parent allows such things!” Well good for you. That’s not our family. My husband is an IT nerd, I cry when my phone is not in my hand, our kids have picked up on it all. Damage done. What can remedy the situation?

We have found a few things which have worked for our family. Programming our WiFi router has been the best one. Ours is set to shut off at a certain time each evening so the kids are not on their devices or using YouTube, Roku, or other programs all night long. My husband also changes the WiFi password frequently, especially if someone isn’t listening or following rules. It’s a punishment more effective than grounding. Also, if we see someone too wrapped up in a game, we just take the devices right then and there. Why wait for a certain time or limit? Just put a stop to it.

As for the adults in the house, we have been putting down our own devices down in favor of board games and other projects more. We also have been trying to drop them more in the afternoon and evenings when the kids are home. If  we have to work or the kids are occupied fine, but if they want to talk, full attention. Same with the two of us. It’s important to have that time and attention as a married couple as well. Quality family time should not be blocked with a phone or laptop in someone’s face.

Having an organized plan works with many families, but with ours, not so much. We are busy and doing different activities each day. We are not very consistent. We admit it. So the effort to do little things and building up rather than having certain rules or “no technology hours” or flat out banning works better for us. We hope it helps families like our who simply don’t have the time or the consistency to put grand plans in place yet still want to get the message across.

Every little bit of effort helps, and by the way, the answers are gray for all three kids and brown for my husband.

 

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