Creative Child

Family: Staying Close in the Digital Age

by Rebecca Eanes

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These are not necessarily the changes you need to make, but rather this is an invitation to ponder deeply about the effects this digital age is having on you, personally, on your children individually, on your partner, on your relationships, and on your heart-to-heart connections. This is an invitation to make the changes that lead to your own best life.

1. Designate device-free times throughout the day.

I used to grab my phone and check social media before I got out of bed. Now I reach for it only to turn on instrumental music to start my day to. This is a discipline, and there are still times I must occasionally check it early for my business, but I can tell a big difference in my peace of mind and mood when I begin my day scouring the endless feeds versus listening to music, tasting my coffee, and doodling in my journal. There is also no devices during dinner or during school work (unless we are using them for educational purposes).

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2. Limit the time you and your family spend on the internet.

My sons have things they like to watch online, but I only allow this between such and such times each day. Before I made this a rule, they’d want to be on it from afternoon to bedtime, and I can tell a difference in their moods as well when they’ve had too much screen time.

3. Fill up the empty spaces with connecting activities.

If you just say, “No devices after 6 pm!” and don’t give them anything to do, children will become extremely bored and push against your limit. The goal isn’t just less screen time, but more time to connect heart-to-heart, so fill those spaces with reading books aloud as a family, board games, cards, making art, dancing, making music, playing ball, etc.

4. Do things online together.

You can make screen time a connecting time if you spend it having fun with your child. Play a video game together or watch something online with your child. You should see the Minecraft castle I built. My kids were impressed.

5. Educate your children.

Not only about the dangers of being online, but also how it affects their relationships, emotions, and brains. This video from BrainPopJr is about internet safety.

6. Talk to your kids.

I think every parent should read this post, called Words We Cannot Afford to Keep From Our Children and have this conversation with your children.

7. Check out this summit.

Join this free online telesummit about parenting in the digital age with such respected names as Susan Stiffelman, author of Presence Parenting, and Dr. Dan Siegel, author of No-Drama Discipline.

8. Be a good role model.

The most important thing that you’ll “tell” your children about the importance of the online world is what you live.

Related Article: The Top 5 Ways to Parent Mindfully

Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of positive-parents.org and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parentingand co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early ChildhoodShe is the grateful mother to 2 boys.

 

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