Today is talking about the third workshop that I attended at Hearts at Home. It was a panel put on by Kathy Koch, Dr. Gary Chapman, and Arlene Pellicane called Leading and connecting with your kids in a wireless world. The books featured in this talk were: Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World and Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World. Having kids that are pretty addicted to electronics, we have started enforcing stricter rules in our house. My kids would be asking all the time if they could watch tv or play XBox and we got tired of it. Our new rule is no electronics Monday-Thursday. If we give you permission to go watch or play, that’s on us, but if you ask then the answer is an automatic no. It has been going pretty well and the kids do ask from time to time still, but it’s much less and not driving me crazy anymore.
Did you know that the average child spends 53 hours a week in front of a screen?! 53 HOURS! That is more than a full time job! If that’s the average, that means there are some kids that are spending over 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen. That just amazes me. I don’t want my kids going down that path and that is why we put that rule into effect. With homeschool, we are lucky that we can enforce the rule as much as we need. Some parents don’t have a choice because I know a lot of public schools are going digital. Just do the best you can to be intentional with your children’s time in front of the screen. Did you know that Bill Gates only allows 45 minutes per day of screen time for his kids. He also didn’t allow his kids to have a phone until they were 13! We have an extra phone that our oldest can take with him if he’s going somewhere like a sports practice without us, but it is not his phone and he can not use it whenever he wishes. Can your screen time pass the abc’s? What will your child be like in these characteristics after the screen time they are partaking in?
A – attitude
B – behavior
C – character
Do you have a hard time with communication and your children? Try talking in a car while going somewhere. Turn off the music and whatever other distractions there are. Did you know kids like talking in the car because 1) you can’t leave when the conversation gets tough and 2) they don’t have to look you in the eye of they have to tell you something hard.
If our rule of no electronics is too much for your family, try one day a week. For example, implement Tech Free Tuesday. Take screens out of your children’s rooms! They shouldn’t be watching any kind of back lit screen for at least 2 hours before bedtime anyway. Maybe on your tech free day you can make it kids in the kitchen night as well so your kids are learning a skill like cooking that will help them in life later on and it will also bring you closer as you work together!
I loved this panel and really liked all 3 people on it. I think people need to be more intentional with their screen time, not only with their children, but with themselves. If you are out on a date with your husband but are just sitting there staring at your telephone screen, you are not connecting with him the way you need to. I challenge you to implement a tech free day or even just a tech free couple of hours a week where you connect with your spouse and your children. Does your family have screen rules? I’d love to hear them. Come back next week for my last session and wrap up of the Hearts at Home Conference.