I write about the use of screens a lot because I’m a mom and a psychiatrist, and I witness every day how tricky this world of technology is for us to navigate. I am proud to report I am currently at the lowest screen time use I’ve ever had (at least since smartphones were created), and I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s actually quite hard and requires very intentional actions on my part.
But you guys, I’m learning it’s SO worth it. I enjoy my kids so much more when I’m not feeling the pull of my phone calling me to check it again. I’m less irritable and snappy when I’m not interacting with them while also texting people or looking up random stories or videos online. My husband and I have much more meaningful conversations when there are no phones in sight. My brain feels more focused and I’m happier.
I know it’s tough, but if you are like me and can softly and quietly admit you have an addiction to your phone, I encourage you to try to incorporate the following steps into your daily life. It will make you a happier, less stressed, and more present person.
Hide Your Phone
I hide my phone in my bedroom as often as possible, but especially during evening hours and family time. I also intentionally lose it on weekends. This subscribes to the “out of sight out of mind” philosophy, and it works well for me.
Monitor Your Usage
I’m aware of my screen time. I now use the iPhone feature that monitors my screen time on all of my devices. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but I can no longer use ignorance as my excuse for not realizing how often I am on my phone. I also like that it breaks down use by function so I can see how I’m spending my time on screens and allows me to set tangible goals on certain areas I want to cut down on.
Delete Addictive Apps
Delete any apps off your phone that you check more than a few times a day. Just do it. It’s like ripping off a band-aid. Once they’re gone you’ll feel so much better!
Schedule Your Screentime
I set specific times to check social media each day. Usually sometime in the morning and again at night before bedtime. During the day I try to avoid checking anything because the next thing I know all I’ve done is scroll through Instagram stories for 20 minutes.
Keep It Out of the Bedroom
I take the phone out of my bedroom. I decided I want my first and last thoughts each day to be my own, not someone else’s. So I stop letting my phone be the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning. I am intentional about reading a book or having a good conversation with my husband before going to bed, and try to meditate for a few minutes before opening my eyes in the morning.
Take Good Pictures Without the Goal of Posting Them
Challenge yourself to take good pictures and NOT post them on social media. It’s harder than you think!
Keep Mealtime Sacred
Never ever allow screens at meals. Period. This goes for ALL family members. Work is no excuse.
Embrace Your Inner JOMO
Trade your fear of missing out (FOMO) for the joy of missing out (JOMO). It’s a shift in your perspective to stop FEARING what you are missing and be JOYFUL to have missed it instead. Find out more about what it takes to make this happen.
When any of these rules get sticky or I find myself backsliding, I remind myself that whatever I am role modeling now for my children will be thrown back in my face whenever they start having phones. So do I really want to have them talking to me while looking at a screen or getting irritated with me because I’m interrupting whatever they are doing online? Yeah, I don’t think so. Make the change today, you can do it!
How do you battle the daily screen use in your home?