When it comes to children, even the very young ones, it seems that parents are supposed to accept that constant screen time is a given. Each kid has their own laptop, smartphone, MP3 player, tablet, profiles on every gaming console in your house that connects to the internet, and access to touch screens and computers at school. Whereas the Moms of today and their parents had little to no access to computers throughout their childhoods, our children are learning to use touch screen tablets in elementary school. Textbooks are becoming obsolete and homework often includes necessary computer time. There is convenience in being able to low-jack your kids’ cell phones and watch your teens interactions with friends on social media but when they start to text you from their rooms upstairs wondering when dinner will be ready, you may begin to fear that you’ll never hear them speak in person again. So, how do you limit the screen time in your house and encourage your children to talk to real people, including the ones that actually live in the house with them?
1. The Cell Phone Zone at Home
Your kids use their phones to talk to friends, text, and even video chat in some cases. Depriving them of these interactions makes them think that they’re out of touch the next day at school and that you’re the evil cell phone restriction monster that is making them totally uncool! Resolve this and restrict cell phone access at home by making a “cell phone zone.” It can be one room or even a taped off or roped off section in a room that is the only place they are allowed to use their cell phones. Have children “check in” their cell phones when they walk in the door and, if they want to use them, they have to go into the cell phone zone.