Easter is coming early this year which probably means your children's spring break is just around the corner. More free time usually morphs into more screen time. After all, you still have a lot of work to do and your kids need to be otherwise occupied sometimes. As you think about your spring break screen time strategy (yes, you can and should have a plan), here are three important questions to ask:
Question #1: Do we use screens to come together as a family?
Technology has the power to bring a family together. You can Skype grandma or watch a funny or inspiring video clip together. But technology also has the power to drive you apart from your family members. The truth is we are rarely all around a screen at once. It's more typical to sit alone in different spaces of the home; each of us with our own screen. Dad is watching sports, mom's scrolling through posts. Sister has her ear buds in, and brother's playing video games.
During spring break, you can create screen free zones around mealtimes or on certain days like Sundays, or after 8:00 pm on weeknights unless the family is watching a movie together.
Question #2: Is the parent/child relationship primarily strengthened or weakened because of screen use?
I was in the martial arts studio recently. My husband and I are crazy enough to participate, so we're on the mat with our kids wrestling. I watched one mom who was looking down at her phone during most of the one hour class. Being down on the mat gave me her son's perspective. I did not see her look up at her son until the very end of class.
I kept wondering, "What in the world is so interesting on your phone that you can't put it down after fifteen minutes to watch your son?"
I totally understand checking email and answering texts while waiting on a child’s activity. But we must have the self-control to finish our necessary tasks and then put our phones away.
We must make the conscious decision to look up.