1. Keep your child’s room clean of screens: Your child should never have any type of electronic device in his room, period. This includes televisions, computers, and handheld devices. No matter how much grief you get, remember that you are in charge. Keep those screens out of the bedroom.
2. Your child’s phone is your phone: Although your child’s phone is a gift make it clear that it is still yours, not hers. Make rules that the new phone is to be handed to you at a certain time every night and that he or she will never be allowed to sleep with it next to her. The temptation to communicate via text and social media will be too strong, thereby creating sleep disturbances and other issues.
3. No electronics during dinner: Make a rule that dinnertime is family time. No phones or televisions can be used during this important time, by anyone—including you. Make dinnertime sacred.
4. Limit screen time for entertainment purposes (including TV) to two hours per day: Yes, I get it. This sounds like an impossible task, but this is what the Academy of American Pediatrics recommended for children over eight years of age before they lightened their guidelines. But I still agree with the old ones.
5. Be a role model: This means spending less time with your beloved device when you are with your children. Turn off your device during dinner and whenever you are in the presence of your children. Our children need us to be present when we are around them, not distracted.