It’s a prime area to target when your goal is to improve sleep and relaxation. So set some ground rules to start:
Don’t allow screen time at bedtime. Turn off all your devices for at least an hour before bed, Muth says.
Limit total screen time during the day. Help your kids find ways to relax that don’t involve screens.Try using the parental settings on their devices, or on your router, to limit their screen time for you. Once they hit the limit, they’re cut off, and you don’t have to be the bad guy.
Make some parts of your home screen-free. They might include your dinner table, their bedrooms, and maybe even the car. That makes it easier for you to keep an eye on their use.
Goal 3: A Foundation for Better Sleep
A good night’s sleep isn’t just about changing bedtime rituals. The things your family does all day affect how soundly you snooze.
More moving. Kids who get enough exercise, at least an hour a day, sleep better at night. (The same goes for parents, too.)
Make time to relax. Methods like mindfulness meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can help kids learn how to de-stress and calm themselves. Or just spend time having fun as a family. Play board games or get outside together.
Keep their schedule manageable. Keep an eye on your kids’ commitments and help them choose wisely. Trying to do the school play, a team sport, piano lessons, and SAT practice is bound to make for sleepless nights and stressed-out kids.
Work Together as a Family
When you’re setting goals to change your family’s habits, experts say it’s important to include your kids in the conversation.
“If your kids are staying up too late, work it out together,” Golinkoff says. “Come up with a reasonable plan with their input.” If they understand why getting more rest is important and feel like they had a say in the solution, they may be more cooperative.
That also means that you may need to make some changes to your own habits or risk being outed as a hypocrite. “As parents, we’re all guilty of this sometimes,” Muth says. “But if your kids see you on your phone in bed, they’ll call you on it.”
So if your current way of unwinding at night is to binge-watch a TV series until the wee hours, it’s time to mend your ways. Do it for your kids. Maybe you’ll feel less like a zombie in the morning, too.
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