I don’t think it’s any secret that smartphones run the world and excessive screen time affects everyone. How many of us have lost minutes to hours of time because we are working out our thumbs? Although occasional times of zoning out can be great for self-care, too much of good thing can become bad.
I’ve felt the effects of smartphones, social media specifically, to know they are not always rainbows and sunshine. This article confirmed a lot of what I feel when I have spent too much time staring at a screen. As a first time millennial mom, my phone is with me constantly and now I see my 18 month old wanting it and will stare at it for as long as I let her. To say some of my biggest fears are happening is understatement. So how can I help teach her healthy phone use before she has one of her own? Teaching by example, of course. The best part is I am setting myself up for a healthier future!! The sequence does not all need to be done before looking at your phone, I try to do 1-6 first thing in the morning before checking emails and social. It is whatever your lifestyle calls for.
11 Ways to Reduce Screen Time For Moms
1. Meditate- 30 seconds or 30 minutes, the amount of time isn’t as important as developing the habit and allowing the mind to naturally wander. These are two of my favorite apps, Head Space and Simple Habit and both have tons of free guided meditations. Self-control really plays into this one. Do not look at the red notifications when you open your phone, they’ll still be there when you’re done with your self-care. Choose the mediation and then set the phone out of reach until its over.
2. Exercise- I know some people prefer working out at night and that still totally works! Even just moving your body for 10 jumping jacks first thing in the morning produces oxygen to the brain allowing it to wake up refreshed an energized too.
3. Pamper- That just sounds so much better than “get ready for the day”. But seriously PAMPER yourself before looking at your phone. Take a shower, wash your face, do your hair and makeup (if you wear makeup). Take a few moments to give yourself a mini spa moment to prep for everything the day will throw at you.
4. Eat Breakfast- My kid doesn’t even go to preschool yet and somehow I never seem to have time to eat breakfast myself. This step is huge though! Your brain and whole body deserve the nutrients from food and the only way their going to get them is by you eating. You make sure your children are fed and cared for, your body needs your help with that too.
5. To-Do List- Make a list of things you want to accomplish for the day. This will help organize your day and hopefully lessen the time you want to spend scrolling.
6. Do One Chore- Remember that to-do list? Pick one thing you need to get done for the day: dishes, load or fold laundry, vacuum. Anything, but pick something on your to-do list and complete it first.
7. Study- Now if you’re thinking “Uhm I finished school and am done with that life” I don’t mean pull out your old algebra book. Study could be reading something you are interested in, a religious book, a recipe you’ve been wanting to try. Something that you are wanting to learn more about for YOU! Parenting and self-care books totally count by the way.
8. Face to Face affirmation- One of the biggest drawbacks we have found in our home is the lack of personal interaction. My husband and I don’t talk to each other nearly as much as we used to and I know a lot of it has to do with the 4-inch screen in front of our faces. So each morning give a personal and verbally spoken affirmation to someone in the household (go you if you get everyone!)
9. Turn It Off 1 Hour Before Bed- Need some proof this will help you sleep better? Check out this article.
10. Read a Book- I consider this separate from studying because this book can be something fictional or even reading to one of the kids. I can’t express enough the difference I feel when I have spent more time reading an actual book rather than looking at my phone. I don’t stumble or forget words when I’m speaking to someone and my attention span in a conversation increases drastically.
11. One on One Conversation- Speaking of conversing, have a conversation with someone in the house. Ideally, my husband and I like to “pillow talk” about our day after we’ve turned in for the night. We charge our phones across the room so the temptation to scroll at night is gone. It doesn’t have to be your husband or even one person! Make a goal to have a good talk with everyone (who can talk) before bed!
The order of this list is easily customized to what fits your life. Each step will take you away from your phone, allowing your brain to breath and have a break from constant stimulation. We focus so much on “child screen time” that it seems like we forget about the people who care for those children: their parents. Your relationship with a screen is just as important as your child’s. You are worth that value and your mind is entitled to reach its full potential. So give it every opportunity to grow and learn, just like you do with your littles.