One of the things our kids do (and I do) is “park our phones”. Basically, this means it doesn’t stay on us throughout the day and it doesn’t go to bed with us. We don’t walk around with it in our pocket or hand and we put it to sleep at night in a designated place, not in our bedroom.
This simple phone routine works for our family but it may not work for yours. If the way we set boundaries around our phone doesn’t work for you that is fine but I highly recommend that you find something that does. Our children are still learning about boundaries, self-discipline, and priorities so they NEED our help to set boundaries around their phones. I’m all for teaching our children self-regulation but we first must teach them boundaries.
Honestly, I think we could all benefit from phone boundaries in some form or fashion.
We’ve been discussing boundaries with our children. Boundaries help us know how to keep the good in and the harmful things out. One of the ways Cloud & Townsend describe boundaries in their book is as follows:
Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership.
Though we often think of boundaries for the other areas of our life it can definitely apply to our phone usage.
This simple act of “parking your phones” and “putting your phones to sleep” helps us create healthy boundaries, encourages us to be present with others and helps us not just pick up our devices out of habit all day long.
It also allows our minds to rest from the constant input we are getting either through music, texts, social media, alerts, or simply scrolling because we are bored.
Parking Your Phones
- Designate a spot in your house where everyone’s phones will be parked.
- Decide when will your phones be parked. Basically, at our house, you can use your phones throughout the day but your phone isn’t on you it’s parked in the kitchen.
Put Your Phone to Sleep
- Decide on a time your phone will go to sleep.
- Then park your phone somewhere that’s not your bedroom.
Practicing putting your phones to sleep in another room is so important for your kids. Statistics show how sleep-deprived our children are due to having phones in their room at night. The light, the dings, the notification all may seem insignificant but really do mess with our deep sleep.
Our minds really do need rest from the constant input when we set boundaries around our phone usage! You’ll find yourself checking it less because it’s in another room. And you’re getting better rest because your phone is not at your bedside.
Recently we asked our kids –How important is it for you to connect with God? They all agreed it was a priority and they all wanted to do it in the morning, not at another time of the day. So we discussed ways we could come up with a plan to help us connect with him in the midst of a rushed morning. Everyone pitched ideas and what we came up with is “Connect with God First” which means we will connect with God first before connecting with our phone, picking up our phone. We’ve been doing this for over a month now so hopefully this sticks.
Try one of these or all of them: If you haven’t had any phone restrictions you may want to try one at a time and then slowly add the others.
1. Parking your phones.
2. Putting Your Phone to Sleep
3. Connect with God First
We have other things set in place to encourage face-to-face connection with friends and family and guide our kids with their phones that I won’t go into detail about here. But I’ll briefly mention we have things like screen time limits and filters to keep them from accessing inappropriate or violent things.