Those who know me, know I am a rule follower. From a young age I didn’t want to get in trouble, so if I knew there was a rule I would follow it. Over the years my thoughts about “rules” have changed, especially as it relates to my kids. Of course, you want to have “rules” about picking up after yourself, i.e. don’t leave your jacket on the floor or your shoes in the middle of the room. There are also “rules” around hygiene, like how many times you brush your teeth a day and how often you shower. Then of course there are rules about homework and how to behave to behave towards family, friends and in public. In many parenting circles, these aren’t called “rules” any more, they are called boundaries. Rules to me sound more black and white, you either do it or you don’t. There is no room for negotiation. Boundaries are a little more fluid, a little more negotiable, a little more room to move within them.
We’ve all heard parenting experts recommend setting boundaries as the best way to manage technology in our homes, but how do we do that? We all start out with the best intentions thinking the first step is to control the amount of time our children are on devices. Sure, it’s easy to say, “you get one hour of screen time”, but what happens when you go over the time limit? How do you handle that and still stay consistent? That’s where talking about and thinking through your boundaries come in. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine what your boundary will be:
When it comes to screen time, setting a time limit is like creating a rule, it’s black and white. When we set a boundary, we must look at the big picture of how we spend our time. We have to reflect on these questions and decide what is important to you and your child and why. By thoughtfully setting boundaries, we will help our children establish a healthy understanding of technology as a just a part of the bigger picture of their lives.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.