A friend of mine leaves her television on nearly all day. She told me she likes the background noise and that her kids rarely watch it, they might stop and watch a little but they are not obsessed with it. I could not do this in my home, my kids would plop themselves down in front of the TV and happily sit there all day. But why the difference? Why do her children ignore the flashing movement and noise coming from the screen, which draws my children in like moths to a flame.
The difference is me! If the TV is on, I get distracted. Even before having children if it was on in the background during dinner, my husband would have to wave his hand in front of my face and repeat what he had said once he had my attention. This is how I behave around a screen and basically my children have learnt through my modeling that screens require your attention, apparently your undivided attention.
SO the first steps in reducing screen time for your kids is being honest with yourself, asking yourself what am Iprepared to do and how can I personally change my relationship with screens and technology in my life?
So I have put together 11 questions to begin thinking about, that over the process of reducing screen time in my own home, I have had to think about….
- What do I define as screen use?
- What vision do I have of screen use in my home and in other environments?
- What do I exactly mean by reducing screen use or being screen free?
- What do I currently use screens for?
- How screen free am I willing to be or want to be myself?
- Does reducing/removing screen time bring up anxiety, feelings of deprivation, sacrifice, scarcity or fear in me?
- Am I comfortable with using screens to appease a child or as a babysitter to free up some ‘me time’?
- Am I ready to start giving my children more of my time?
- Am I prepared to start dealing with the raw emotions my children release instead of using screens to calm or quiet them when they are upset, hyper active, bored etc…
- How do I feel the cultural and social views of my community affect my choice on reducing/removing screen use from my home and environment?
- Now that I have some idea regarding what I am prepared to do, what about my partner, co-parent or other adults who care for my children? Are they on board with this?
For now, this is all just food for thought. In my next post I want dive deeply into each of these questions and am making a downloadable journaling sheet with all these questions and space so that we can all write down our thoughts. Journaling our responses to these questions makes our thoughts concrete and helps us create a clear vision of what we really want to achieve. It’s also a useful tool to look back on in a few months or years to see how far we have come on our journey to reduce screens in our lives.
‘do something today that you future self will thank you for.’