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6 Smartphone Resolutions for Your Kids in the New Year

Friday, 29 January, 2021

Jana Dalby

The age at which kids acquire a smartphone of their own seems to be getting lower every year. In the United States, 53 percent of children now own a smartphone before they turn 11. Let’s face it: there’s a good chance your kid already falls into this category, or that they will someday. There are benefits to kids having smartphones, but there are also some big downsides.

The start of a new year is always a great time to break bad habits, so why not set new year’s resolutions for your kid and their smartphone? Here are six resolutions that will help kids use their phone more responsibly while also getting the most value out of it.

1. Establish no-phone zones

When a kid gets too addicted to their smartphone, they’ll start to use it in virtually every setting. This should not be the case, and if you allow it to be, it will only get worse. Establishing no-phone zones in the new year is a great way to get your kid started on healthier tech-related habits. Here are a few places a phone should be off limits:

  • At the dinner table
  • During bedtime
  • At school
  • In worship services

Start the year off right by making a no-phone zone list for your home. It’s important to teach kids when and where it’s appropriate to use their phone. Not only can this help prevent tech addiction, it also teaches your kid basic manners. Teens and young adults also need to know the right time and place for using phones. Establishing these rules when your kids are young will only help them in the long run.

2. Limit screen time

Establishing device-free zones is important, but so is limiting screen time. If a phone is the only form of entertainment a kid has, they aren’t going to know what to do with their free hours. Set ground rules for your home and only allow your kid to be in front of the screen for a set amount of time.

In addition to setting time constraints, encourage fun activities that don’t include a screen. When your kid is bored and wants screen time, suggest alternative options like gardening or playing a board game. As a parent, you could probably think of dozens of activities that don’t include a phone. Write them down and start suggesting them more often in the new year.

3. Plan for those non-tech-related activities

When your kid needs a quick fix for their boredom, you may have to think on your feet. But why not plan for activities that don’t include a screen? Kids love having something to look forward to, and scheduling fun family activities is a great way to break bad tech-related habits.

Here are some fun activities you can plan for your kids in the new year:

  • An arts and crafts night
  • Extracurricular activities at school
  • A family game night or movie night with snacks
  • A picnic at the park

Kids still need time to be kids. If you set boundaries when it comes to their first smartphone, they’ll have more time to enjoy life outside the screen. Look for activities that are not only fun, but also COVID-safe.

4. Download educational apps 

We’d be the last ones to suggest that all time spent on the phone is bad. If your kids are using educational apps on their smartphone, it can actually be a great use of their free time. Schools across the country had to transition to remote learning when the pandemic hit, so kids were forced to learn to use a screen. Even when your child returns to school, continue to encourage e-learning at home. Once your kid realizes they can learn anything from almost anywhere at any time, they’ll start to love virtual learning.

5. Spend more time talking to relatives

In the new year, resolve to spend more time talking to distant relatives and friends. Your child may have a pal who moved away, or you may have family members in another state. These absent friends and family would doubtless love to reconnect. 

Plan weekly times when your kid can call or FaceTime a distant friend or relative. Not only will your kiddos love it, it’ll help them develop communication skills and maintain stronger connections with important people in their life.

6. Print and frame the photos your child takes

One cool feature that kids love about their first smartphone is the ability to take their own pictures. Make a connection between the screen world and physical world by printing out the pictures they take and framing them. You can even encourage fun activities like scrapbooking or buy them a bulletin board to pin their photos on. 

Taking pictures is a healthier phone-oriented activity than watching videos all day or getting into social media too early. Encouraging this pastime by printing out your kids’ pictures is one good way to prevent your kid from turning into a smartphone zombie

Making smartphone resolutions for your kids in the new year will help everyone. Your family will be happier, and your kids will be happier and healthier, too. And it doesn’t have to be hard. Establish screen-time restrictions, designate no-phone zones, and plan for fun activities, and you’ll ward off smartphone addiction for good.