Dear Dr. Lisa,
This might be a simple question, but how can you tell how much is too much when it comes to technology use? My kids are 9 and 11 and my main concern with it being summer time is that we are traveling and generally become more lenient with technology restrictions for the kids.
Dear Desperate Dad,
When it comes to technology, no question is simple. Summertime travel is where I see a lot of parents and grandparents get into trouble with allowing more technology use than they usually would under regular circumstances. It is tough enough getting everyone out the door on time let alone keep squirrelly kids occupied for hours in planes, trains, and automobiles.
My recommendation is, to absolutely leave all non-essential devices (iPads, kid’s cell phones) at home!! This might be hard even for YOU to adapt, but I think you’ll see how stress free and actually relaxing your time together as a family can be, sans tech. Sometimes, even as parents, we forget to disconnect from our cell phones and be present with our family and friends. Perhaps you can take a trip together to the library before leaving town and stock up on some books for yourself and your kiddos.
Now, if that is just a little too drastic for your family at this time, I would suggest to set a hard limit at 30 minutes of screen time per day and to be on the look out for major mood shifts in your kiddos with this extra tech time.
Ask yourself: are they extra irritable when the technology is removed or your try to remove it, are they not getting enough sleep at night because they are on their devices too close to bedtime, are they disengaged from family activities? These can all be signs that they are in desperate need of a technology detox.
Hope this helps!