By trusted Pinwheel affiliate
Corporate Digital & Wellness Educator, Founder of IparentGen.com
Before a family decides on a phone, it is important to think about having 4 components in place before any screens come into play. In order to prevent phone addiction and mental health, having these set routines in place can save your family a lot of heartache and battles. (Following the Canadian & American Pediatric guidelines.)
Does your Family have a screen plan? What does this look like?
You could be doing all the right things right now. See if you can relate to the list below before we get into the 4 components of screen boundaries.
- Are you setting up enough exercise and GREEN TIME? When we increase screen time we must simultaneously increase GREEN time. Families that have booked outside time for their kids will find that they are all happier and go to sleep way earlier. Outside time is key.
- Are there solid routines in the home, in terms of sleep, mealtimes and chores without screens currently?
Routines are the basic fundamental structure in the home. If they are not in place, phone use and gaming will be trickier... and kids will be more vulnerable. Routines support children’s development and self regulation. They promote socio-emotional development. (et al, Dr. Bockneck)
- Are your kids active in hobbies, sports or activities?
Having interests before phones and tech demonstrates a healthier mindset before tech is introduced.
- Have you educated your children about phone use and healthy habits? Talk about how and when to use a phone with them while encouraging Face-time or calling rather than texting. Phoning increases language skills. Habits can shape and determine a child’s mental health.
- Gather all the information about Control apps, Phones and Cybersafety guidelines. Take the time to read it and really ask questions.
- Have you scheduled family time each day? FACE TIME not FaceTime, surge those oxytocin filled hugs.
- How will you monitor your child’s phone and what they are doing on it? There are many systems out there, but Pinwheel recommend using Bark, a parent monitoring system.
- Write out a plan!
Following these screen-time routines will help you stick to your families screen plan, but first you need your values in plain sight.
Be sure to talk about the following items before you bring the phone home.
- Your family values
- Your screen time rules
- Educating them about Cybersafety, being kind online
- Balancing phones is a continual job and takes consistent monitoring.
- Will you have phones all around all the time, in the car, while they do homework, or at the dinner table? Will there be times for the phone to be completely off?
Why is setting up your family on routines so important before you get a phone?
Children thrive in routines, they listen more intensely, they are happier and more independent. They also have more interests and better social skills.
The 4 Components to Remember!
- Healthier habits before use is better for the family if they are set up prior to a new phone.
- Routines are the basic fundamental structure in the home. If they are not in place, phone use and gaming will be trickier.
- Having interests before phones and tech demonstrates a healthier mindset before tech.
- Phone IQ or digital literacy is an important skill for life...and there is so much to it.