In thinking more about how I answer the question “How Much Time is Okay for Kids to be on Their Device?”, I realize I have approached this topic by allowing myself to stick with trying to answer the wrong question. Instead of asking the question, by thinking about how to limit the time our kids are allowed to use a device, instead I think a better question is:
“What Do I Want to Show My Kids that is so cool, they won’t want to sit inside on their device?”
Right now, my son is just like me when I was his age. He could play all day. Eating is a bothersome task that in his mind simply takes away from playing. He has an incredibly strong imagination. He does not like to waste time eating. “Dinner Time”, is often followed by an audible groan.
At some point in my life, I ultimately realized I enjoyed eating. I’m sure he will too.
If you compare using a device to eating (although it is not as necessary), how can we make activities, and life so cool that kids crave more of it.
I hooked up some indoor jumpers in my garage. They are huge bouncy bands that the kids use to bounce to the ceiling (okay, a few feet up, but they imagine they are in the sky). My kids absolutely love jumping in these things. They fight over who gets to use the bouncy first.
I still watch with them occasional shows through our device, but it is not what they crave most.
My boy has a souped up imagination. When I play toys with him, it takes very little action to see him fully immersed in our make-believe world.
This approach harnesses in important difference. We are generating the life we want to live by focusing on the good that we want in our lives rather than focusing on the bad we are trying to remove.
This is a powerful tool that some refer to as “The Secret“, “Activating the Reticular Activating System“, or “The Law of Attraction”. I subscribe to the approach though I am not a fan of some of the presentations done by the heads of these life-styles.
I have learned in life that when you approach life by focusing on the positive, being full of gratitude, filling your heart with love, and spending less time on the negatives, the days are filled with happiness and fulfillment.
Using this mode of the thinking, we can approach devices from the mindset of: “What life do I want for my kids and my family? What Do I see us doing? How will using the device help me get to my vision of what I see for my family?”
In my household, I do not see many ways where video games, watching many hours of streaming services, or spending significant time on social media leads me to my vision of how I see my family spending it’s days.
This is more my what I see as a vision for my family, especially while we are young enough to make this happen:
Simply focusing on what I want my family to be doing completely breaks my mind from focusing on removing devices and instead focusing on how to live life the way I really want my family to live.
To Do: Prepare a vision of what you would like your family to be doing. What does it look like? Describe it in detail in writing. Then read it every day. Get a physical picture of it. Remind yourself daily that this is what you are going to achieve!