You might agree on a lot of things about raising your child. Screen time might not be one of them. These tips can get you on the same page.
It’s a sore subject for many parents as they navigate raising kids in a digital world. “It is very common for parents to have differences of opinions around many aspects of parenting, screen time being one of them,” says Alyson Schafer, family counselor and author of Honey, I Wrecked the Kids. Here are some tips to get you on the same page:
Make time to talk about screen time.
Parents often come to Schafer knowing what the issue is, but admitting they don’t make time to really talk about it. This particular conversation can take time, but it’s worth it; you’ll establish rules that you both feel good about. Then, you can deliver a clear message to your kid about why this matters.
Respect your differences.
Starting the discussion in terms of what each of you would specifically like to see happen and not happen, allows you to “negotiate the difference in terms of those wants, coming up with some middle ground about screen time that you both can live with,” says Dr. Carl Pickhardt, author of Who Stole My Child? Parenting Through the Four Stages of Adolescence.
Don’t forget to check in with each other.
The best strategy for making sure each partner feels heard is to ask questions like “This is what I just heard you say; is this correct?” The pause in conversation will ensure that you’re both listening too. “Keep communication operational—talking in terms of specific doings, happenings, behaviors and events,” says Pickhardt. For example: “On school nights, I would like screen time limited to no more than two hours, and after we’ve had family time and our kids have finished their homework.”
Finally, remember that this is not one conversation. It’s a long-term dialogue. So, keep talking, listen to your kids, stay flexible and don’t be too hard on yourself. Here’re some additional Circle Resources to help you navigate the screen time debate: