The scenario is all-too familiar.
You’re in an important Zoom meeting and need one gloriously uninterrupted hour to focus on work. Despite the fact that it’s 8 in the morning, you hand over the iPad to keep your kid entertained.
Or how about this one:
Your tween has stopped complaining that they’re bored and started spending all their free time scrolling on social media. It’s a struggle to get them to put down their phone at mealtimes.
Or even this:
You’re concerned about your child’s gaming habits. A hobby has become an obsession, and your kid seems to be gaming when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep at night. It’s getting harder to talk to them, and you wonder if their schoolwork is slipping.
I completely get it. Screen time is so easy and so entertaining. It’s designed to grab and hold our attention. And the longer we stay isolated and inside, the more time you and your kid are likely to spend in the glow of a phone, computer, tablet, or TV. It’s exhausting to keep antsy children occupied, especially when you’ve got work that needs to get done.
Is your family’s screen time spiralling out of control? How do you keep yourself from being overcome by guilt from allowing too much screen time? And how do we all keep our screens from destroying us mentally, emotionally, and even physically?
First, take a deep breath. Screens are not inherently evil, and you are not a bad parent for using them. You simply need to apply some conscious parenting to your family’s approach to screentime:
As parents, we worry a lot about the issue of screen time and how too much of it might hurt our children. But at the end of the day, we have to realize that devices are just pieces of metal, and it’s up to us to use them for ill or for gain. As our children’s parents, what’s important is that we give them what a screen ultimately can’t: the love, attention, and support they need.
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A 3xTEDx speaker, media contributor, parenting coach, and a mom of two - helping families thrive by using the Guidance Approach to Parenting.