Today’s kids and teenagers have grown up in a digital world. They’ve never known a time when technology wasn’t at their fingertips. In some ways, that isn’t a bad thing. But, it’s also increased the digital reliance of future generations. Most American children spend 5-7 hours a day in front of a screen.
Too much screen time – whether it’s in front of the TV, tablet, or smartphone – can lead to trouble sleeping, contribute to attention issues, and can even increase your child’s risk of developing anxiety or depression.
As a parent, you have control over how much time your children and teens spend on screens. While you can set rules and boundaries, one of the best ways to reduce digital reliance in your household is to go through a family digital detox. It’s a great way to reconnect with your family and reduce the stress associated with a tech-filled life.
Not sure how to successfully detox and detach from your digital devices? We’ve got three tips that will make it easier.
1. Set Your Goals
A digital detox won’t be easy. You’ll quickly see just how much every member of your family relies on technology each day – including yourself.
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to talk about your goals ahead of time. Have a “family meeting” and discuss what you want to achieve with a detox. You can motivate yourself and other family members by:
- Making a list of activities you want to get done during the detox
- Reminding yourself of the benefits, including reduced stress
- Avoiding information overload
Planning ahead will make the detox itself easier. Choose a time that works for everyone. For example, detoxing around the holidays or when a major milestone is coming up probably isn’t a good idea. Tell others about your detox and let them know you aren’t avoiding or ignoring them. Planning and goal-setting will help you to feel more in control and less tempted to reach for your phone when things get difficult.
2. Make a List of Family Activities
You might be surprised by how much free time you’ll have when every member of your family isn’t relying on digital devices.
It can help to have a running list of family activities and hobbies to do together. Consider taking on a big project, like building a playground as a family that your kids can enjoy for years to come. It’s a great way to spend more time outside, increase physical activities, and teach some important life lessons to your children along the way.
You can also choose activities based on everyone’s interests. Some of the easiest ideas for screen-free family fun include:
- Family game night
- Doing a puzzle together
- Cooking meals together
- Going on a walk each day
Everyone can also explore their individual interests. You might find that one of your kids becomes interested in books, or another further develops their musical hobby. When they aren’t distracted by technology, they’ll be more inclined to dive into other passions.
3. Keep Your Devices Out of Sight
If you’re going to do a digital detox, make sure to take it seriously. Keep everyone’s digital devices (including your own) out of sight. You’ll be less tempted to “give in”, and it can help to reduce your stress.
Speaking of stress reduction, it’s important to keep that in mind throughout your detox. Think of how often you have to monitor your kids online. You might check their social media accounts, search their browsing history, and make sure you have the right parental controls in place, even if they take virtual classes. It’s enough to make you feel constantly overwhelmed. Not only will a digital disconnect help you to reduce that stress in your life, but keeping the devices out of sight and out of mind can really help to clear your head and recognize screen time habits you might need to change.
Going through a digital detox as a family might not be easy. But, it can be extremely beneficial for reducing stress, improving focus, and boosting family bonding. Keep these tips in mind to make the process easier, and you might find that you can actually enjoy the time spent away from your screens.