Even as we encourage our kids to use their devices for good like homework, making things or learning stuff, we still butt heads over safety, screen time, age-appropriate content, and the importance of making eye contact instead of staring at your screen when a human being is talking to you.
2018 can be the year you do things differently. Learning to live in harmony with media and tech -- in a way that works for your family -- is one of the most forward-thinking actions you can take
as a parent raising kids in the digital age. Who knows? One of these may be the start of a new family tradition.
Deal with the one thing that's most frustrating about your kid's media/tech. What didn't work in 2017? Do you need better rules or limits? Do you need to make a space for charging phones outside the bedroom at night? Do you need to stop watching TV before school? Do you need your kid to be better about responding to your texts? Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics' Family Media Use Plan worksheets to identify problem areas and solve them. Make a New Year's resolution to fix a nagging issue that's causing friction between you and your kid.
Lead by example by putting down your phone at a certain time every evening. Make an announcement when you shut down your devices. Your kids may roll their eyes, but it sends a strong message that you can set boundaries -- and stick to them.
Put a new spin on the device-free dinner. If you're already designating a night or nights as device-free, give yourself a pat on the back. How about taking it a step further and doing something that inspires closeness and conversation with kids? Some ideas: Pick a word of the day, play "two truths and a lie," or talk about what you'd do if you won the lottery. Leave school, work, and chores to discuss after dinner.
Start a book club. It's so important to keep your kids reading. Strong readers do well in all school subjects. They also learn to focus for extended periods, a necessary skill in the world of bite-sized information. And reading together gives you a chance to discuss plot, characters, and themes that can apply to all aspects of life. There's no shortage of book recommendations. You can get into a book series, whether you have little kids, tweens, or teens. Or you can introduce your kids to the great classics of English literature. Focus on one topic -- for example, "What did you like best about the book?" Then use the conversation starters from our book reviews or look for discussion guides in the back of the book or online.