This One Tiny Change Will Really Help Your Kids

old habits vs new habits, life change concept written on sand

Dr. Delaney Ruston – Calling all parents, teachers, counselors, coaches, grandparents, and every other adult who cares about young people. 

We have a pledge we would love you to take today!

The pledge is simply to commit to making one small change around a screen time habit for a specific amount of time and to discuss your plans with kids in your life. 

Make A Change Pledge

Once you take the pledge, tell your child you did, tell them what you aim to try and change and consider even asking them if they will help keep you accountable. 

So often, we use the word resilience and how we want “resilient kids.” However, many kids tell me this term is confusing and vague and ask me what exactly is resilience? One of the central skills of resiliency is being able to stop and assess one’s current situation and then come up with ways to make modifications. We build a sense of self-efficacy every time we make little wins in the areas we work to modify. Our kids are eager to build their resiliency skills, and a perfect way to help them is to model our process of working to make a change. 

I would bet money that every single one of you reading this can think of some way that there is something related to your devices that either distracts you away from work you need to get done or displaces things you wish you did more. 

Making changes, even small ones, can be super challenging, but doing this as a community can be empowering. So right now, let all of us join together to take this Make a Change Pledge. Inherent in the Pledge is to involve our children and students. 

So, what type of change do you want to commit to? Don’t overthink it, but by the time you finish reading this blog, just pick something! Perhaps it relates to how you often become distracted when doing work on your computer, or maybe it has to do with how you want to change up one evening a week. Perhaps it has to do with how frequently you reach for your phone.

When choosing, think about the why (the “because”) and what will you replace it with (the instead)? Be sure to tell your kids about these pieces of the pie. And remember, a tiny action can have a significant effect because the chance of success is greater when you make a small change. 

Examples of changes you can consider making:

  • For seven days, you will not check your phone right away in the morning because when you do, you get sucked into it, and instead, you will do 5 minutes of back stretches because once you started the day like that and noted your back felt better all day. 
  • You will remove your favorite game app off your phone for five days because your neck has been bugging you from being on your phone so much, and also, you realize it has been several weeks since you played a board game with your child. So, instead, you will play a board game with your child. To extend that goal, pick a game that takes several nights in a row to finish. 
  • You tell your baseball team that as their coach, you are pledging to make one tech time change and are going to delete Instagram for a week because you have wanted to have more mental rest, and instead, you are going to sit on your porch more and relax and also do some flipping through some old books you have wanted to revisit. 
  • You will tell your students that for the next ten days when you walk to your car after the school day, you will NOT look down at your phone while you are walking because you realize that Spring is coming to an end and you want to soak up all its beautiful colors instead
  • You will take off all sports apps for three weeks because …  and instead …
  • For three Wednesday nights, you are no longer going to watch your Netflix show because …  and instead …
  • You will take your work email off your phone for two days, so you can instead only check your messages on your work computer.
  • You will take the Facebook and/or Instagram app off your phone for one week and only check your feeds when you are in front of your computer because you notice you get sort of irritated at yourself for walking and phone checking. 
  • You will leave your phone at home for one outing with the family next weekend because you find that even when you aren’t checking your phone, you feel it pulling at you, and instead, you don’t want to get that feeling. 

There are so many excellent discussion points you can be having with your kids throughout your Make A Change Pledge. For example, when you feel the urge to self-distract with a treat-type screen activity, how will you handle the urge? 

I have written several posts regarding behavior change, and you can find them on our Screenagers blog.

Ideas to get the conversation started:

  1. Have you heard me, as a parent, talk about trying to change one of my screen time habits?
  2. What advice can you give me to help me try to realize my current pledge goal? 
  3. Would you mind asking me in three days how I am doing with my goal?