I recently got pretty fired up about some parenting issues involving kids using technology devices too much. I’ve calmed down now, but the reason I was so adamant about the dangers of technology is because I’m passionate about our kids.
My daughter, Brooke, pointed out that I talked about the problem but didn’t present all the solutions.
Today I’m going to offer a couple suggestions that can help you deal with the issue of regulating your children’s screen time. I care so much about these next generations—our children, our grandchildren—and I want us to have the opportunity for long lasting relationships with them. I want you to experience quality time with your kids.
If you could (and I understand this really isn’t doable in most cases), it would be ideal to cut off all TV. It consumes so much of our lives and doesn’t offer nearly as much benefit as family conversation. We need to get “table time” with our children and grandchildren. Gather them around and break out a board game. Sit around the table together and do something fun.
Not long ago, one of my grandkids brought over this ridiculous game that had us laughing uncontrollably. Basically, you put this plastic thing in your mouth that holds your lips open, and you have to select a card from the deck and read a phrase that’s written on it. It’s goofy. It’s hilarious! Sharing those moments of laughter with my children and grandchildren was unbelievably rewarding. You can’t put a price tag on that.
There are so many fun things you can do with your children and grandchildren. It’s not just all about board games. When the weather is warm, get the kids outside! Let me guess, you’ve tried that and the kids say “I don’t want to go outside.” Well, they don’t want to go outside because all they know is sitting there in front of the TV watching movies and playing video games. We need to change that.
Take them outside. Teach them how to play horseshoes, badminton, or volleyball. Shoot a basketball with them. Kick a soccer ball or kickball around. Get a bunch of the kids together and form teams. Create a friendly competition. These kids just want attention. They can drown themselves in video games all day because the video games give them something to do. You need to give them something better to do. Show them you want to spend time with them.
As a life coach, I spend a lot of my time coaching dads who tell me “I just don’t have a connection with my kids.” I hear this all the time. I tell them to confide in their children. Say to them “This is happening at work, and I’m thinking about doing this to solve it. What do you think?” They will probably be surprised. “Why would you ask what I think? Why would you want my input on that?” It’s important to get their feedback. Make them feel valuable. Show them that their opinion matters. They might even be able to provide you with a different insight that you wouldn’t get without talking to them.
The bottom line is kids have a craving for being shown that they matter.
I’m not talking about buying them a bunch of gifts. I’m talking about paying attention to them, building a relationship with them, and winning their trust. Your kids need to know that you love them more than anything else!
To accomplish this you have to be intentional. In my family, we select a different person each month and honor that person all month. We write them notes, take them out to dinner in recognition of them, do fun things for them.
At the end of the day, your family is all you have. You need to protect them, take care of them, show them they matter. I get a little upset sometimes when I think about how many people let their kids go by the wayside. We can’t let valuable opportunities to spend our lives with our children get away from us!
Listen, I want you to make money. I want you to have successful businesses and start new companies. But the thing is, companies don’t have a memory. Your family does. I say this all the time, and I’ll say it again: If you don’t spend time with your family, one day you’re going to come home with a pocket full of money to a house full of strangers.
You only have one life with your children. You have a finite opportunity to connect with them. Don’t blow it, because you won’t get a do-over. Be intentional about spending quality time with them. Play board games with them, take them outside, have meaningful conversations, confide in them, and show them you love them!
I don’t want you to mess up your relationship with your kids. I want you to give them the opportunity to live the best life they can imagine.
When it comes to your family, you’ve got to live on purpose!