For many parents, turning on the TV the second they walk in the door or compulsively checking social media becomes a habit. Kids often develop unhealthy screen time habits too, by turning on video games before school or by getting on the computer the second they walk through the door.
Making a conscious choice to unplug for an extended period of time can break some of those bad habits. When kids get out of their environment and step away from their usual routine, they have an opportunity to develop new habits.
Here are a few strategies for creating a digital detox:
- A week-long break from electronics – A camping trip, a vacation in the mountains, or a week in a remote cabin could get everyone away from the electronics. Stepping away from technology could renew everyone’s appreciation for simple activities, like board games or playing catch.
- An electronics-free weekend – If you can’t afford a vacation—or you have a job that makes unplugging for a week seem like an impossibility—consider a digital detox on a smaller scale. Consider making it happen to unplug a few weekends each year.
- A monthly digital-free day – Perhaps the first Saturday of every month means no screens or the last Sunday of the month is a quiet family day. Commit to spending quality time together without using electronics for one day every month.
Stepping away from electronics for a few days can be a great experiment to see if it changes your child’s behavior. A short break could boost her mood (after she gets over the initial horror of not having her electronics) and increase her motivation to get her work done.
Of course, it’s important to be a good role model when it comes to electronics. If you tell your child to turn off the electronics while you’re sitting behind the computer, your words won’t be effective. So be willing to go through a digital detox with your child. It could be good for the whole family to step away from electronics for a short time.