How to Help Your Child Disconnect From Screens

There are many things you can do to help your child disconnect from playing on their devices during more meaningful times that could otherwise be spent with family or constructive activities.

Family oriented time might just provide the greatest opportunities for your young ones to get to learn deeper lessons or express more sensitive perspectives. These, and many other special moments, could be passed by if your child or teenager’s attention is being consumed by their favorite portable device.

Some of these preventative measures or proactive approaches you as a parent can take include unplugging their electronics for a few days, creating new routines, and engaging them in exciting outdoor activities. Studies have shown that spending time in nature reduces stress, improves mental health, and boosts focus.

By removing their screens, your child or teenager will be able to experience meaningful memories that will last:

Plan Fun Activities That Do Not Involve Screens

One of the best things you can do for your children is to plan fun activities that do not involve screens. While the latest gadgets may temporarily make life more convenient when bustling in a busy home, they also distract from the surrounding environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources for last minute ideas and very simple (yet fun!) activities.

If you don’t have the time to plan an elaborate craft, consider setting up a game for your children or teenagers. Having them take photos with an age-appropriate camera and make a slideshow of their experiences is another wonderfully productive task. The photos will provide a great way to share them with the family later on!

Unplug Electronics For A Structured Reset Time

If your kids are overly obsessed with their electronic devices, a two or three (or maybe even longer!) day long unplugging session is the perfect way to show them that it’s okay to be away from their screens for a while. It may take a little imagination to think of creative unplugged activities that involve and entertain everyone, but you’re sure to find something from the store or perhaps recall some fond memories of activities that were played by older family members long ago.

Remove Addictive Apps From Your Child’s Devices

If your child or teenager needs some intervention to help them break their tendency to glue themselves to their screens. But the truth is, this is more often easier said than done for everyone involved. It requires a lot of self-control and resources for fulfilling their curious and active minds in other, more constructive places.

Limiting your child or teenager’s screen time can be made easier by utilizing the help of apps that block certain apps, websites, and games. These tools can not only stop your child from spending too much time with a mobile device, but they can also prevent them from racking up an enormous bill of in-app purchases!

If they have a smartphone, you can also use these types of tools to limit the amount of time your child spends on it. Using a tool like this, you can set a daily limit on how much time your child can use his or her device. This can be especially useful if your child uses a smartphone that’s connected to a WiFi network.

Create New Routines That Minimize Screen Time

If you are worried about screen time getting too much of your child or teenager’s attention, it can help to more clearly define current routines or develop new routines that minimize device usage. You can start by making a list of all the activities your family does in a day and when. Your young ones will be more likely to stay occupied with more purposeful activities and tasks when they have a structured plan in place.

Having a routine can also help kids form the boundaries of their screen time. A routine is one of the most important elements of any strategy for implementing change. This is because a routine can help make a smoother transition to an improved lifestyle. Over time, your child can develop independence and confidence in what they can achieve when they can more easily function within reasonable expectations, meeting even small goals with success.

Our Recommendation:

We recommend discussing their device habits with them to guide them to better choice making.

The most effective way to do this is to sit down with your kids and discuss how they feel about their own screen time behaviors. Getting on the same page about the reality of how long they are spending their time and on what they are spending it on can be highly productive for motivating them to do better for themselves.

As a parent, guiding them to look at the long view perspective of their choice patterns can also help them to more maturely approach their choices in the future. They may find that there are other things in their life they may want to find fulfillment in, of which things you can use to continue to enrich them.

A conversation like this may possibly help them enjoy their time to the fullest, not to mention take on a thought process that considers what they do with their time more carefully. We encourage you to connect with your child or teenager as part of their journey of becoming familiar with devices and apps in general. Your guidance might make the difference between some poor choices that can’t be reversed and having enough insight to make better choices about their own well-being.

Monitor, Alert, and Protect with Bark

Where other apps’ safety and inappropriate content filters fail, you can utilize Bark! The best parental control and notification app for mobile devices, monitoring your child’s app activity has just become much easier. When installing, use the promo code “cybersafetycop” to get 15% off the entire duration of your subscription!

Get the Pinwheel Phone

Parents ask, “what’s a safe phone for my child? I don’t want to worry about all the apps and headaches.” I have found it in the Pinwheel smartphone! It gives the caregiver unprecedented levels of control over how their child’s phone works. Easily enable/disable apps, control screen time, no unapproved calls, and monitor your child’s conversations as they learn healthy communication. Deleted texts still show. The Parent Portal provides deep insight into your child’s Internet safety.

Use our promo code, “cybersafetycop,” to get a 10% off the cost of the device.

*There are affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Thank you! 

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About the Author

Clayton Cranford
Clayton Cranford is a retired Sergeant from Orange County Sheriff's Department in California and owner of Total Safety Solutions LLC. Clayton is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on social media, child safety, and behavioral threat assessments. Clayton is the author of the definitive book on cyber safety for families, “Parenting in the Digital World.” Clayton has more than 20 years of teaching experience and was awarded the 2015 National Bullying Prevention Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, and the 2015 American Legion Medal of Merit. Clayton was a member of the County's Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, School Resource Officer program, and Juvenile Bureau.