One day I wrote a post about a time in which my children and I were struggling with screen time. I wrote about how we detoxed. Then one day soon after that post came out, Jane Neslen, author of the Positive Discipline series, contacted me, said she loved the post and wouldn’t it be great if we could put together a resource for parents on this very important topic? I said absolutely yes and started to get to work on what would become our ebook collaboration.
The irony was, every time I sat down to work on the book, I was tempted to either turn on a movie for my kids or hand them an iPad so I could get work done on it. I remember thinking, “Do I really want to write a book about the value of reducing screen time while my kids sit in front of a screen so I can get it done?” I decided no. I couldn’t do that.
So the book had to wait. Wait a bit until my kids were a little older and our schedules aligned and I had some uninterrupted work time…without the assistance of screens. Since that day a few years ago, we have had even more chances to work through additional challenges with our use of screens…adding to my growing understanding that there was certainly no cut-and-dry answer for every family and their screen time dilemmas.
It would be easy to declare, “Go screen free! Here is why, here is how, and here are the alternatives.” To give families ONE simple answer for their media use. The truth is, there is no ONE answer that works for everyone. Viewpoints on the topic of screen time range from 100% unlimited access to disowning TVs completely and avoiding video games like the plague.
Though, there is much in between.
That’s where our new resource comes in. For the families in the in-between…Those who fall somewhere in between full access and total banishment for their kids’ media use. I was thrilled when the ebook started coming together and we finally had a pub date. That date was last Monday, so the ebook is now available to everyone!
Don’t think I missed the irony of publishing a book about screen time in (only) a digital format. I noticed. I wondered about that. Realistically, this is how we live. Like the opening line of the book says, “Screens are everywhere.” So many aspects of our lives have been infiltrated by electronic gagets….and that’s not always so terrible. Tablets? Pretty handy. Smartphones? Helpful. eReaders? Awesome. I happen to love our gadgets. The danger–and where I think many parents struggle–lies in not finding balance of your family’s screen use. Of forming strong habits and depending on those devices too much.
It becomes easy to lose track of time when kids play on the computer or xBox. It becomes easy to fall into routines that involve screened entertainment when it may not be necessary–when there are alternative forms of engagement we could be having with our kids.
So keep your iPhones, keep your TVs, and keep your video games. Keep reading ebooks (especially this one!). The key lies not in banishment, but in balance. This resource is meant to help parents understand the value of interpersonal connection, as well as the enjoyment of our devices, and to help you find a balance that works for your family.
In this book you will learn how to….
- Be proactive in managing your media use
- Set your family up for success with appropriate amounts of screen time
- Set limits effectively
- Solve problems when problems arise
You will also find a section of questions from parents just like you and answers from Positive Discipline experts and educators. How do I get my son off Minecraft? What are the best rules to set for Xbox use? What guidelines do you suggest for getting a child a cell phone?
There is also a template for a phone contract you can use with your kids that follows the principles of Positive Discipline. When your kids are ready for their first phone, this is a great agreement to use to help everyone in the family get clear on the expectations and responsibilities that come with owning a phone.
The book is on sale now and available at these retailers:
Positive Discipline Store (downloadable as a PDF)
If you’ve read it already, we’d love to hear your feedback! Please let us know what you think.
I’m excited to be in the final stages of putting this resource together! Working with Jane has been an enjoyable experience as we commiserate on the ways electronic screens creep so easily into our families’ lives. (iPotty anyone?) We’ve had a great time putting together personal stories, practical examples, helpful language, and of course the best Positive Discipline tools when it comes to managing media. The release date is estimated for the beginning of March, and I will definitely share when it becomes available!