My previous post about taking a “screen-time” out is the start of how to make room in our lives for more connection, by disconnecting more often from our devices and how to help our children do the same. This video came up on my newsfeed this past weekend. It made me realize, it’s time to get rid of our phones at bedtime. That would be the next step.
I like what Simon Sinke says and his message of not blaming, but helping. He suggests we need to help our young people learn the skills of communicating and connecting, because many of them grow up, through no fault of their own, never learning these skills. I believe him. Our children are the first generation to grow up completely 100% WITH devices around them all of the time. The current generation of 30-40 something aged parents remembers (generally) time WITH cell phones and time WITHOUT. Cell phones were not commonplace in our childhood, let alone smartphones. And I remind you, I am not against cell phones or smartphones. I rely on mine. This invention has improved so much about the way we can live, BUT how and when we use them, is one factor contributing to too much screen time for our kids.
Please watch the video. It is long but worth the time. At the end of the video, the man says “I will buy you an alarm clock”. I just bought 3 new alarm clocks for our family and this will be the start of finding a first “screen-free” time in our family. By not charging our phones at our bedsides, or not using our phones as alarms in the morning, we will eliminate the need to have our phones at our bedside and thus decrease the temptation to use them before sleep. We will be decreasing the reality that when left at our bedside, our phones are potentially the first thing we connect with in the morning. We will be increasing the potential that at bedtime, we may find other things to do to help our brains and bodies relax, such as drawing coloring, reading, journaling, or just lying there and finally, we will be establishing a boundary that our bedroom is a private personal space where others can’t intrude unless we invite them.
I bought one alarm clock each, for my two daughters and one for me. I am most afraid of the withdrawal or insecurity I might feel, by not having my phone at my bedside AND the push-back that might come when I hand them their new alarms. This tells me that I have been setting an example that I don’t want my children to follow, and if real change is going to happen around use of our devices then I am the one who needs to make the most change. This really is, all about me. As an added measure and attempt to lead by example, I will also not be purchasing any more Kindle books on my iPad for awhile…this device is as smart as my cell-phone and holds all the same distractions. If I’m going to read, I’m going to read…not take notice of text messages, emails, or Facebook alerts that come through while I’m taking in the final chapter of a book I’ve been trying to finish before book club on Saturday.
Screen-free time before bed will start an hour before we want to fall asleep. I feel any more time than that is unrealistic. I contemplated making the cut-off 30 min’s before we go to bed, but I feel like that time will get eaten up and disregarded. I want it to be a sufficient enough amount of time to really make a difference.
I am hopeful this seemingly small but really big change for us, will make a difference in how much screen time we are exposed to, make room for other things in our lives and be a next step in helping my children learn to connect with others and themselves.