Tanya Goodin, author of 'Stop Staring at Screens', provides some ideas from her book to redress the balance between screen-time and home-life.
How many times have we avoided confrontation or difficult conversations with someone at home by burying our heads in a screen? Partners can be just as guilty of doing this to each other as children and parents are. But there are some points during the day when we really need to reconnect with each other to strengthen our relationships, and we simply can’t do that if we’re on our screens. As part of your agreement for screen time at home, set some sacrosanct time slots, and agree to avoid using screens for distraction or avoidance. Some ideas might be:
Before you all leave the house in the morning, carve out some screen-free time to allow you to focus on each other. Put all screens away and talk about your intentions for the day.
Leave the house feeling buoyed up by each other’s attention and support.
Straight in the Door
When you all come in from work or school, it’s the perfect time to check in and share how your day went, unload any frustrations or problems, and celebrate each other’s successes.
Try thinking of the doorway of your home as an airport scanner that will alert you to the presence of your phone on your body. As you walk through the door, put your screens down in a central place so you can focus on each other.
Bath and bedtimes can be really special times for a family, especially if there are younger children in the home. Being on a smartphone while you’re supervising a bath or giving a
child a tablet to play on (instead of reading a book together) diminishes the power of those moments. Agree that bath, story, and bedtimes should be screen-free and make the most of times that won’t last forever.
Stop Staring at Screens by Tanya Goodin (£9.99, published by Ilex Press) is out 6 September.