Technology is one of those things that for the sake of our teenagers, I wish we could go back and change. On one hand, we have a vast array of knowledge- all with just a tap on a tiny screen.
On the other hand, with that tiny screen comes opportunity for addiction, distraction, and anxiety.
Awhile back, my teens were struggling in school, I was constantly nit picking and I felt I didn’t have a strong hold of what was going on in the house. We lacked structure. There was a general anxiousness in our house.
I sat down and mapped out what was giving me and my family anxiety. One thing was that we had almost no set rules for their phone usage. Sure, we didn’t allow phones after 9 pm but I still felt out of control. Another problem was that we were not consistent with the privileges or lack of them in response to completion of chores, preparation for school, and homework.
First, I wrote out house rules and chores and the privileges that were allowed when there is compliance. We had a family meeting and made sure everyone understood.
Second, I got OurPact. It’s by far my favorite app for assisting me in retaining structure regarding phones. This app is amazing, my friends.
I want my kids to be able to communicate the way their peers do. But they need parameters in place to ensure they engage in real life, get their homework finished, and contribute around the house.
Because I’m not a monster, I don’t restrict phone usage for the full school day. With the app, I’m able to put the kids on a complete schedule!
Here’s what I do:
In the morning, apps are scheduled off until it’s time to head out to school. Once we leave the house, apps automatically turn on until school starts (20 minutes).
During the school day, apps turn on in between classes (5 min) and at lunch time. My kids want to connect with friends and I don’t want to keep them from being social. This gives them a bit of freedom.
Once school is out, apps turn back on for an hour of free time and then off until bedtime. When the kids finish homework, chores, get their lunch made and their clothes ready for the next day, IF there’s any time left before bed, I allow them another 30-60 minutes.
What I love about OurPact is that once you get everything set up, there’s not much managing to do.
I can restrict their apps completely if they’ve fallen below a certain grade, there are any missing/late assignments, OR if they aren’t having a good attitude.
Technology and teens can seem really overwhelming but with OurPact I feel so relieved. Once you take the time to set the schedule (which takes about 15 minutes for multiple kids) you’ve set your family up for success!
Kids will not like it at first – my boys didn’t – but I have to tell you how incredibly calm my house feels compared to when I didn’t have the app! The standards are clear and there’s less nagging and arguing. They know what they need to do in order to have the privilege of their apps- and pretty soon they start saying things like “Hey Mom, I’m done with my homework, my lunch is made and my room is clean. Can I have my apps?” Instead of me nagging them, they come to me when they’ve finished everything. It feels like freedom for all of us!
I hope this inspires you to get structured and start fresh. Leave me any questions in the comments below!