With today’s cellphones, you can text, facetime, play video games, listen to music, etc. all on your device. Because all of these things are now accessible at the touch of a finger, why wouldn’t kids be so drawn to their phones? Everything they want and need is waiting for them in the palm of their hand or back pocket. However, smartphone convenience and versatility comes at a price. Family dinners are now plagued by silence as children text away with their friends instead of contributing to the conversation. Homework is further procrastinated in order to finish “just one more level” of their phone game. Even sleep is neglected as they stay up late binge-watching YouTube videos. To help cure this epidemic in your household, here are some of our best tips on how to get your kids off their phones (and doing more productive things instead!).
1. Establish Phone-Free Situations
This rule can be customized to be as strict or lax as you see fit; however, one of the major reasons most parents want their children to use their phone less is to make family quality time actual quality time. What’s the purpose of going out for a nice meal when no one at the table is talking? Therefore, make mealtimes, car rides, and face-to-face conversation times cellphone-free as a rule.
One way you can enforce this is by creating a phone tower in a prime location where everyone can see. For example, if you are at the dinner table, have everyone stack their phones in the center of the table before digging into your food. This holds everyone, even parents, accountable for being off their phones. If you’re in a car, place the phones in the glove compartment or the middle console.
2. Charge Phones in the Parents’ Bedroom
Worried that your child is staying up all night on their phone? If your kids want to be able to spend time on their phones during the day, they have to charge it up at night or their battery will die. Therefore, keep all phone chargers located in your bedroom. By doing this, not only will you ensure that they will not be on their phones instead of sleeping, but you will also be able to monitor/control how many times your kid is able to recharge their phones. If you notice that they are charging their smartphones way too frequently, it might be a hint to dial back on their screen time a little bit.
3. Get Away from Cell Service
They can’t be on their phones if there is no cellular data or Wi-Fi, right? Take a family vacation or simply an afternoon break by spending some time in the good ol’ outdoors. Go camping at a local state park, take a hike on a local trail, or grab some bait and fish at a beach pier or lake. There are so many fun outdoor activities to choose from that there is certain to be one that your family can agree on. You can also opt to have them leave their phones at home so that they won’t even be tempted to use them during the trip. Plus, turning these kinds of trips and activities into a regular occurrence is a perfect way to make some special family memories.
4. Limit Their App Collection/Phone Storage
The ability for smartphones to have apps that range in function may be one of their coolest features but is also one of the biggest draws for your child. With over two million apps in just the Apple App Store alone, there is clearly a wide variety of games, social media platforms, and other entertainment options to choose from. Depending on how much or little you want your child to spend on their cellphone, you can decide how many apps they should have. For example, instead of having Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, seven games, and two different music streaming apps, have your child narrow down their options. Make them keep their one or two favorites from each category and delete the rest. Or, when purchasing a smartphone for your child, buy the lowest storage option. If they do not have a lot of phone storage to download apps, then they won’t have as many apps on their phones to be busy with.
5. Keep Their Hands Busy in Other Ways
Get your kids to drop their phones on their own by preoccupying them with exciting activities and hobbies. Remind them that there are so many other options out there for them to spend their time. Does your child love to read? Take them to your local library every week to pick out a new book. Do they love desserts? Invite them into your kitchen and teach them how to bake their favorite treats from scratch. Are they artsy? Drive down to your local art studio so they can make their own unique masterpieces or buy craft supplies to make DIY projects at home. To ensure they don’t get bored and resort back to technology, try to frequently mix things up by introducing to them different hobbies every week or so. Plus, this is a great option for helping your child explore and discover what their passions are.
Here at Pinspiration DIY Craft Studios, your child can get their hands dirty in the best way possible! We are passionate about creativity and community, and our studios are the perfect place to drop the cell phones and make something together. Whether your child making string art in the Main Art Studio or creating their own Jackson Pollock-inspired splatter paintings in the Splatter Room, there is no need for smartphones to have an amazing time. Your kids (and the whole family!) can channel their creativity and let their imaginations run wild. Book an appointment at your local studio at pinspiration.com.