A few weeks ago the kids and I were having fun with an activity that required each of us answer 30 questions that help us to get to know each other better.
One of the questions was “What is your favorite season?”. Bri asked for clarification by asking me if I meant a television season or an actual nature season. It took me by surprise and we all laughed about it but it helped me to see a bigger problem. Ever since she was young the television has always been there.
Cartoons were my main source of entertainment growing up so I did not think it would be so bad for my daughter. Who knew the world would change so rapidly and introduce thousands of types of content and gadgets to use on them?!
My kids have always been around electronics and we own many different types. Cell phones seem to be the most convenient now since they can be carried anywhere. Audy and Mav have a cell phone but it is not activated since we feel they are too young to manage it. We bought the phones for them to play games.
On average the kids are spending five hours per day on their phone! I monitored their usage for one week. This is what I noticed:
- Upon getting out of the bed the phones are checked to see what progress the games made overnight.
- A breakfast, instead of talking they are on their phones checking…one last thing.
- During the lunch break they are checking the game progress again.
- When the school day is over they have free time and most of it is spent on the phone playing games or watching YouTube videos.
That is a lot of screen time!
Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against technology. I just felt as a family we needed to put the electronics down and focus on each other more.
During our family meeting the kids agreed to cut back on the screen time. A few rules were put into place.
- Cells at meal times are banned (This includes my husband and I).
- All cells have to be turned in at 6 pm no matter what.
- Cell phone use was now limited to three hours per day.
The meeting ended on a high note and with everyone feeling optimistic.
The very first day of our plan, I encountered major resistance and whining. It was like the kids were having some sort of withdrawal symptoms. When free time was over and they had to put the phones in the “Phone Home” everything came crashing down. The kids were fighting and bickering with one another. It was like for the first time in a long time they actually had to learn to interact with each other.
Any mom can tell you that we do not like when our kids argue and fight with one another. It was tempting to call the whole thing off and let them get back on their phones. I am glad to say we stuck it out and the kids are cooperating with the rules. It has only been a few weeks and it was a hard fight but I found that having board games and other activities on hand really helped the kids get through the rough time. We started our family fitness nights again and it has helped the kids to get that extra energy out.
“I sustain myself with the love of family.” Maya Angelou
Have your kids gone through something similar with their electronics? What have you done to minimize screen time and maximize family time?
Quote Credit: http://www.thefreshquotes.com/family-quotes/