If you are limiting screen time for your kids and you’re struggling with how to explain your screen time choices to your family and friends, we’ve got some tips for you right here.
This is something I’ve dealt with, specifically, so I understand that the struggle truly is real.
With technology being such a prevalent norm in today’s society, making the conscious choice to turn off your devices and remove yourself from the constant inundation of information might seem like an odd decision to some.
However, it’s a good decision, and it can improve your health and wellness across the board.
Many people are unaware that excessive amounts of screen time can have negative effects on their health, bodies, and – in children – the development of the brain, so lowering the amount of screen time that you end up using can only benefit them in the long run.
But, if members of your family have grown used to the status quo, it might be hard for them to understand your choices.
As such, you may need to spend time explaining your choices to them to get them to understand why you’ve decided that limiting screen time is the right decision for your family.
Let’s look into some strategies to accomplish this.
6 ideas to help explain limited screen-time to family & friends
Only explain if they ask
In the same way that people don’t appreciate unwanted advice, they sometimes don’t appreciate unwanted announcements, especially if it’s about something that might come across as a personal attack.
If your family and friends don’t limit screen time, they may take it personally if you parade and announce your screen time choices unnecessarily.
A lot of people don’t see screen time for their kids as a big deal, and that’s ok. It may be just fine for their child(ren).
There’s no reason to dig in and create a problem where there doesn’t need to be one.
If your friends and family express interest (or a problem) with the screen time choices you’ve made for your children, you need to be direct with them.
One of the biggest reasons that people in your life may not understand limiting screen time is that you haven’t explained it to them.
“We’ve made the choice to keep Jonathan screen-free until he’s 2. We talked to the pediatrician about screen time and this is their recommendation”.
This is just an example, but there’s nothing more in this example that needs to be said. It’s brief and strong.
If you have weak delivery, your decision may come off as flimsy or flighty, and they may think that this is something that’s up for discussion.
Use Science To Your Advantage
One of the likely main reasons you’re deciding on these screen limits for your kids is that you’re trying to follow the AAP recommendations.
Sometimes, using science and information to help in your explanation can help you make your point.
You may find that even the most stubborn members of your family might change their tune if you explain all the risks involved in continued and extensive screen time in kids.
Hopefully, your family will want you to prioritize your child’s health and well-being.
It’s tempting to use anecdotes to convince your family and friends that you’re making the right choice.
Maybe you’ve noticed that your child has meltdowns after the TV has been on for a while, and cutting out the TV has relieved them of these behaviors.
While you’re likely correct, that the TV was the cause of the meltdowns, you’re leaving yourself open to arguments by presenting this as evidence.
Stick To Your Guns
Being seen as wishy-washy can make it hard for your family to respect your choices.
When it comes to your child’s health and wellness – and, if there’s the possibility that your family might see your example and start to mimic you – then you might find it easier to make the change.
You have made this choice for your children and you’ve got to be the leader and set the example.
If you’ve told your parents, for example, that you don’t want your toddler to watch TV while you are at their home, you need them to see you in your own home following that rule.
Implore Them to Trust You
If all the other items on this list aren’t enough to get your family to understand why you’ve set this rule for your child, you may have to go back to the basics.
A hit-or-miss way that may be hard for them to question, asking them to trust you can work to help them understand.
You are a parent, and you’re trying to do what’s best for your family.
Even if they don’t understand why you’re going to prioritize less or no screen time for your kids, hopefully, they will understand that this is something that you’re choosing to do.
Let them see the benefits for themselves
Remember why you’ve decided on your screen-time choices – because there are benefits.
Some of the benefits of limiting or eliminating screen time for your child can be observed by others.
If your child was displaying increased untoward behaviors prior to cutting out screen time, then those behaviors may no longer be observed, at that level at least.
Some parents notice that their children are calmer and engage in play in more involved ways after limiting their screen time.
Have your family or friends over so they can see the difference for themselves.
There’s no need to even point it out – just let them see.
At the end of the day, realize that you’re reducing screen time for the betterment of your child.
You don’t need anyone’s approval for that.
If your family is unable to understand, that’s all right!
The goal here is to increase your child’s quality of life, and if reducing screen time is the way you do that, then you’re doing the right thing.
You’re the parent.