Planning on creating screen-free zones at home? Here’s how.
Creating “screen-free zones” is one way parents can monitor use of electronic devices – both their own and their children’s. Not only do screen-free zones allow for “digital detox,” technology-free spaces also promote familial bonding and allow time and space for activity that promotes positive growth, whether for developing infants or teens learning to navigate young adulthood. They also provide crucial opportunities for focused play and other activities that support children to increase their attention span.
Screen-free zones can be physical spaces or times of the day/week reserved for “down time,” relationship building, or focused play.
Create Screen-Free Zones and Limit “Phone-Checking”
If you or your family members are accustomed to living in a technology-focused environment, it is a good idea to create screen-free zones that allow everyone to ease into a new way of life slowly. Start small and make it fun. Rather than merely ridding your environment of electronic devices, focus on adding activities that will help sustain your children’s attention and encourage connection.
Replace screens with games, play time, and
conversations that demonstrate your interest in your children
and encourage them to express themselves.
Once you and your family have adjusted to the new screen-free system, you can add screen-free zones as necessary.
Here are some suggestions for screen-free zones:
Practice Mindful Use of Technology
Another way parents can regulate their own and their family’s use of electronic devices is through intentional or “mindful” use of technology.
Time it right
Rather than keeping phones on 24/7 and carrying them everywhere, parents can designate times of the day during which they can use the phone.
Leave home without it
Leaving phones at home when going out with your children or turning phones off upon arriving home after work are great ways to unwind and free up your attention span.
Set up a tech station
Consider creating a technology station, where everyone’s devices “live.”
Stick to a schedule
Keep all devices turned off or on silent when not in use, and post a schedule that states clearly when games can be played, calls can be made, and emails can be returned. Make sure the schedule and rules apply to everyone in the family and that you keep expectations reasonable.
Mindful use of technology and screen-free zones will help keep you and your children focused and organised while encouraging opportunities for meaningful play and optimal development for the entire family.
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