When it comes to creating really awesome family memories these days it feels like as parents we have to get really creative.
There are so many apps, games and things for our kids to do on our digital devices. Screen time seems to be the thing these days.
I see it at restaurants, at red lights, in line at the store.
Parents on their phones while they wait. Kids on tablets or phones while they wait.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing… I am saying that electronic devices are getting in the way of intentional memory making time.
So how do we get around it? What can we do to make sure distractions aren’t interrupting the memory making time?
I’m going to go ahead right now and raise my hand. I’m guilty of this.
When we aren’t sure what to do with our family time I pick up my phone and zone out until the problem at hand is solved.
Or we turn on a movie for the kids so they stop complaining about being bored.
Slowly raises hand. Yep, that USED to be me.
But the thing is you can change this pattern. It might take some work and consistency but you can begin to change the tide.
So how do you create family time that is free from electronics?
I like to do this in a few different ways depending on what we are doing.
First I think we need to define a few things.
What is Considered Screen Time?
When I think about my kids using screens I don’t consider the use of screens for educational purposes. If we are as a family using a screen to play a learning game then it doesn’t count. But if my kids are using it to play a game like Temple Run then it counts.
How Much Screen Time is Allowed?
This is really important to decide early on in your parenting journey because the last thing you want to do is reel it in after it’s gotten out of hand.
So think about how much screen time you want your kids to have. The AAP recommends 1 hour per day for kids 2-5 years old and to consistently monitor time for children older than that.
We limit our children to 1.5 hours per day on average. More if they are watching a movie with us that is family oriented during our family time.
Our family has specific rules around screen time.
First, we have set boundaries around screen time. There aren’t any screens after school until all homework is done and messes are cleaned up.
Then and only then can our oldest have her tablet.
But this is where I have yet another rule set up. She has the kids fire tablet from Amazon and it came with a year free of Amazon Free Time. This is an app that parents can use to control what their kids are doing, how long they can have on a device or even on a particular activity.
You see, I have it set up to where she has to read a book for 30 minutes before she can access apps or video. Then I have it further restricted to 1 and a half hours of screen time.
This allows us to control the time spent on a device on any given day and when the time is up, it’s up.
When it’s time for dinner there are no screens unless we are all watching a movie together while we eat. This usually happens on Friday nights.
We don’t allow screens at bedtime. Obviously, they will stay up playing with them instead of sleeping like they should. We try to start winding our kids down an hour before bedtime.
This allows for one on one time with us, reading, showering and brushing teeth.
Unless we are watching TV or playing games as a family no one has screens during family time. That even goes for us parents. Our phones go away and we focus on the activity at hand.
I will admit occasionally I’ll grab mine for a quick picture or video. But then it goes right back away.
Where Are Screens Allowed?
This is a really important rule to establish because of safety concerns online. Even with filters and parental controls kids still figure out how to access stuff we don’t want them to have.
So for instance, will you allow screens in the following areas?
- Dinner table
We don’t allow screens in bedrooms unless the doors are open and they certainly aren’t allowed in there before bedtime.
We don’t have them at the dinner table or outdoors.
They are only allowed in the family room on a regular basis.
Something else to consider here is where they will live when the kids aren’t using them? We keep all screens in the living room to charge.
Who Can Use Screens?
This goes right along with how much time is allowed, but who can use screens?
We allow both of our kids to use screens for recreational and educational purposes with our observation.
When it comes to creating really awesome memories with our kids we have to limit the usage of distractions and that includes screens.
For our family, we had to have a real look at what we were doing as parents and we had to start practicing what we were preaching.
So are you ready to become less distracted and really dig into creating wonderful memories with your kids during your family time?
Creating Family Memories With Kids Night In Box
Pin It For Later!
Determine Your Family Values!
Learn what your family values are today so you can use them as a guide in your household.