Parents Should Cut Down On Their Own Screen Time

It’s common these days to tell parents they need to limit the amount of screen time that their kids get. And that is a smart thing to do. But parents also should take a hard look at how much time they spend on their own screens. It’s probably more time than you think. There’s been some controversy lately about a campaign to convince parents to put down their phones and tablets and spend more time interacting with their kids.

The campaign was started by a teacher who said that she sees a lot of developmental delays and other problems in children today that she attributes to parents who aren’t engaging enough with their children, especially when their children are small.

At first I was tempted to roll my eyes and dismiss this campaign as one more way that parents get blamed for everything. But then, just as an experiment, I started logging my own screen time. And I was shocked to see that the minutes spent checking my emails, chatting on Twitter, or surfing on Facebook added up quickly to a huge amount of time that was being spent on the screen and not on my kids. And I couldn’t really tell my kids to limit their screen time without limiting my own too. Especially because I am guilty of logging more screen time than they are.

After logging all of my screen time for a week and being surprised. I decided I needed to make some changes. Big ones. I didn’t want to be a bad example for my kids and I didn’t want to be that person who is on her phone at every meal and during every task. So I started to put my hone away during family meals and when I was driving the kids all over the place. I made a point of engaging more with my family. And this is what happened when I did that:

My Kids Turned Of Their Phones Too

Like most parents, I was constantly yelling at my kids. I kept telling them to put their phones down. But not putting my own down. And like most kids they almost ever listened. But once I started physically turning off my phone and putting it in another room during family meals or family team I noticed that my kids started to do the same thing. And I made sure that I always said yet when they asked if I wanted to play a game or watch a movie together as a family instead of all of us sitting around on our phones. And the more time I was off the phone the happier I was.

The Kids Got Over It

Sure, at first the kids told me that they wouldn’t respect their screen curfews. That I was the worst mom in the world. But I stood firm on my rules about limiting screen time. Then I limited my own screen time. The kids respected the boundary I had set, because I set it for myself too.

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