Screen-savvy tips

Give some thought about how you want to approach screen use when Screen Free Week is over. If you kicked off the week with a family meeting, you may want to end the week with another one to talk about what was hard and what was enjoyable for each person.

Then consider these tips as you set new parameters for family screen use: 

1. Remember that technology is a tool. As an occupation therapist and mom, Susan Schenk encourages parents not to feel guilty about screen time. Instead, she suggests parents show how their children how to use technology to access information, learn, and communicate well.

“Let kids use software that encourages creation of art or music. Then share their creations with family members who are far away. For kids who struggle with writing, encourage them to email a grandparent or friend who doesn’t live nearby. This gives purpose to the writing while using technology as a tool.”

2. Own the technology. Schenk recommends controlling electronic devices for as long as possible to allow you to choose how they are used. Devices can be tools or treats, instead of the go-to entertainment. If your children already have electronic devices, coming back from Screen-free Week is a great time to re-establish limits on use.

3. Choose when to use. As you begin using devices again, consider setting limits on when they are used. For example, no screens at the table or outside play before video games or no checking email before breakfast.

4. Model good habits on and off screen. Think about what technology habits you want for your kids and about your own use. If you want your kids to put down their devices and interact with your family, start by putting yours away. Schenk adds, “If you want your kids outside more, go out together for 15 minutes (you’ll likely be out longer).”

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