January 13, 2022
So how do you feel about New Year's resolutions? It’s ok, you can be honest. Some people just love them. A clean slate! A fresh start! The opportunities are endless! Sound like someone you know? Others aren’t quite so enthusiastic. Too much hype, not realistic, forced, etc. etc. That one sound more of your tune?
However you might feel about making resolutions, one thing we can probably all agree on is that surviving 2021 was no small feat and that we’re hoping for something new and better in 2022.
In fact, in many ways it feels almost impossible to separate the last two years and all the challenges they’ve brought. Was it actually almost two years ago that the world suddenly shut down, home became the classroom and the office all in one, and (apparently) half the country collectively decided to start baking sourdough bread at the same??
Maybe one reason it feels so hard to judge time these past two years is because so much of life moved into a screen. We learned to Zoom like pros (but still, somehow, not how to mute/unmute?), what the “cloud” is, and how many “pings” a human can possibly get in one day. But we also lost much of the day-to-day human interaction and normal rhythms of life.
Screens have become a more dominate, more magnetic, and more compulsive presence in our lives these last two years - not because we planned it or because we were lazy or anything else - but simply because it just happened as the whole world changed.
If you’re a parent or a guardian looking back and asking whether “digital life” makes up too much of your family’s “real life,” we’re right there with you.
When we think of New Year’s resolutions we tend to think of things like “run a half marathon” or “get more sleep” (but seriously, more sleep). Some might be asking why resolutions around digital wellness matter at all. Great question!
The first and most obvious reason is that more of our lives happen on screens so making intentional decisions related to them can have a HUGE impact on our lives and well being.
In fact, a study conducted in June of 2020 found that the average adult will spend 44 years of their life staring at a screen. That breaks down to:
And even more than that, the trend line on screen time for kids and adults has only moved up and to the right with the pandemic. So yes, starting with screens can have a huge impact on your year!
Second, we know more than ever that wellness is about more than exercise and eating right. As a nation we’re facing an unprecedented mental health crisis and - while it’s certainly not the only factor - there’s a growing understanding that our relationship with screens and social media is part of the problem. Pursuing health and wellness in 2022 means assessing both physical and mental patterns and habits for things that can help us to thrive.
If you’re still saying to yourself “but who likes resolutions??” its a valid question. However, the problem with resolutions is most often not the practice of making resolutions but how people make them.
As life coach Sandra McDermit told CNBC in an interview, sometimes we “risk trying to do too much and not getting any of it.”
So what’s a better, less stressful way to approach resolutions? Here are a few ideas:
So now that we know the WHY and the HOW of our resolutions, let’s see what they are! Again, there’s no magic bullet, but trust us - these three simple practices truly can have a life changing impact on your family and in your home. They’re aimed at being grace-filled, flexible, but intentional. So let’s dive in!
Parents often feel that tech is an all or nothing game. Open the flood gates to everything or lock it down. This year, try gauging tech and screen time by the purpose more than the amount. Try asking yourself and your kids if their screen use does one of these three things:
If tech helps you and your kids learn, connect, and stay active, then it’s helping your wellness overall. Mindless scrolling and distraction? That’s a different story.
When it comes to kids, this is why we’re so excited about kids smart watches and kids smartphones. Tech that’s truly, thoughtfully designed for kids can be amazing and intentional tools that guide kids toward habits and mindsets that put tech in the right place.
You’ll notice this one doesn’t come with a number. There simply is no “right” answer to how much screen time is too much. Each family and each day are different. However, that doesn’t mean limits are useless! Try thinking of specific screen time guidelines for your family around these three areas:
And here’s an extra tip! Before you simply set these rules yourself, try asking your kids for their input. Consider making it a family pact with everyone’s buy in. Giving the whole family ownership can turn a battle into something that builds family culture.
This one can’t be said enough. Like anything that’s an important part of our lives, it needs to be talked about. Try asking your spouse questions about how they are feeling about tech. Be curious with your kids about what they like and don’t like in their digital world. Building a habit of talking about tech makes a world of difference that helps everyone stay connected. Really connected.
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Want to join a community of fellow parents and guardians working together toward digital wellness? Then follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tell us what kind of resolutions you’re working toward this year!
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