Many aspects of life in the 21st-century revolve around screens. From working on a laptop to checking a notification on your smartphone to binging your favorite show on Netflix, the average person turns to screens on an alarmingly frequent basis.

This has led to the shocking revelation that the average adult racks up over 11 hours of screen time per day. Teens aren’t far behind, clocking in at seven hours or more, and that’s not including school work. To add insult to injury, quarantine caused by COVID-19 saw many individual’s screen time skyrocket even from these already staggering numbers.

If you’re a parent struggling to control your screen time and hoping to set a good example for your children, here are some tips and suggestions to help you learn to balance screen time and family time on a regular basis.

1. Set Up Rules

Establishing set screen time rules should be the first step taken in any situation. Without clear guidelines to follow, rampant electronic abuse and even digital addiction can quickly creep into the picture. A few ideas for rules to consider include:

● Setting up short screen time sessions to avoid hours spent in front of a screen without interruption.
● Putting a daily limit on total screen time use.
● Designating specific times of day that screens can be used.
● Avoiding all screens for a stipulated amount of time before bed.

Each household must come up with realistic regulations that will fit their particular scenario best. For instance, with many students and employees working from home these days, it may not be realistic to set restrictive amounts of screen time during work or school hours. In that kind of situation, setting up “digital-free” times of the day when work and school are finished may be more effective.

Regardless of the specifics, though, it’s important to nail down some basic ground rules right from the get-go.

2. Choose Your Devices Wisely

If you give your children unrestricted devices, you open up the doors for a variety of negative behaviors to take place behind your back. Instead, look for devices and applications that can help you maintain oversight of your children’s screen usage.

Look into phones for kids that are specifically designed to keep them from becoming too obsessed with their screens. They may not love the restrictions, but it will help spend less time on a screen and more time enjoying your family.

3. Follow Your Rules and Explain Your Reasons

Once you have rules established, it’s absolutely essential that you, yourself, follow them, too. After all, ignoring time limits or using your phone right before bed sets a poor example for your children to follow. In addition, while it’s important to insist that your family strictly adheres to your screen time rules, it’s also a good idea to avoid a “because I said so” mentality as you implement them.

Instead, take the time to explain to your children why too much screen time can be harmful. Take time to explain the effect that screens can have on mental health as well as the physical repercussions that blue light can have on everyday activities such as sleep.

4. Crossover Occasionally

When it comes to finding balance in your screen and family time, sometimes the best solution isn’t to choose one over the other but rather to meld the two together. Look for ways to use technology as a family.

Look for group-friendly games that may require a screen, but can be played as a family. This can help ease the disappointment that children may feel when they are restrained from excessive individual screen time.

5. Be Ready to Adapt and Reassess

Finally, always be ready to reassess your screen time/family time strategy. Everything from changing devices to growing children and even quarantines can throw off your digital groove, and that’s okay.

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Just a genuine effort to find what’s best for your family. Occasionally taking the time to reassess where things stand can help you make adjustments in order to adapt to the best scenario for your family’s current situation.

Finding a Balance

The modern world runs through electronics, and trying to fully eliminate digital devices from your home becomes more of a fool’s errand with each passing year. However, setting up boundaries for your family’s existing screens is a critical activity that can help to balance out the amount of time you and your loved ones spend on devices throughout the day.

Taking the time to find that balance between family time and screen time — for both you and your children — can develop crucial soft skills that will serve all of you well in the increasingly digitized age that lies ahead.

Author's Bio: 

John Smith is a Digital Marketing Consultant with more than 8 years of experience in SEO, SEM, SMO, blogging, etc having wide knowledge base into content marketing.