8 ideas for creating family cell phone guidelines that rock! — Part 1 of 3

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Words by
Inger Erickson

Published on


“One of the hardest things to do in this life is create a family plan that everyone agrees on.”

Have you ever had an experience where your best intentions produced the exact opposite of what you wanted? I sure have! 

What has surprised me is that over the last 21 years I’ve been a mom my failures and mistakes have become the greatest tools in helping me figure out how to parent smarter, empower my kids, and create a stronger bond between us.

Having the cell-phone-dos-and-don’ts conversation is something we all kind of dread. So over the next few weeks, I’ll share 8 ideas that I’ve found successful when talking to my kids and have had a really positive on our family.

My hope is that they can help parents create a successful cell phone plan their kids will stick to—and accomplish in a way that fosters unity, empathy, and love!

Make It a Special Event 

A sure way to get your kids to whine and sulk is for them to think they’re being called together to hear new rules they believe will make their lives harder. 

So how do you get around this while still talking about a difficult subject? 

One way is to gather your family in a way that feels unique and fun. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get your creative juices flowing!

  • What is a dessert you rarely serve that your kids loooooove?
  • Is there a place you could go to make the gathering unique? Outside on the lawn, a park, a restaurant?
  • Is there a fun activity you could do before or afterward? Movie, swimming, bike ride?

Whatever you end up doing, your goal is to create a good, positive feeling among everyone! 

Get Rid of the Word “Rules”

It’s part of our human nature to rebel against absolute authority or anything that takes away our ability to choose. Because the word RULES has an especially negative connotation among kids, it can easily provoke this same reaction.

Instead of creating RULES for cell phones, use a word that evokes a sense of choice. Try using synonyms like guidelines, plans, boundaries, or healthy habits. If you choose your words carefully, you’ll be able to foster a feeling of openness, encourage participation and get the outcome you’re looking for.

Are Cell Phones Bad or Good?

Kids are always hearing the negative things about cell phones, so clarify that a phone has the ability to be positive and negative. It all depends on how we use them. 

The easiest way to explain this is to compare a cell phone to money. Ask your kids these questions:

  • What are some ways money can be spent to make our lives better? 
  • What are some ways money can be spent that can hurt us or others?

Explain that cell phones are like money. Discuss ways they can enrich our lives and how they can negatively affect us. Talking about this will encourage your kids to recognize and think about the type of influence their phones can play in their lives.

These are just a few suggestions I hope will be helpful in creating a plan and get you thinking of other positive ways to approach your kids about cell phones. 

Feel free to share this article and be sure to check back next week for more ideas about creating a family cell phone plan that rocks!