Easy Digital Diet

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Around this time, lots of folks are making New Year’s resolutions and working hard in trying to keep them. There’s always some fancy diet, new workout machine, or app to help you save some cash. Some resolutions are practical, others are really tough. How about trying out an Easy Digital Diet? Spend less time consuming digital media and spend more quality time with your family.

As a Gamer and a Mom that works in the digital space, I am a glutton for digital media. I spend most of my days staring at a screen at work and then playing video games after the babies are in bed. I really just can’t quit cold turkey and I honestly don’t expect you to either.

Here are five practical tips to help you reduce your digital consumption.

1. Device Free Zone

Designate areas that will be device-free. Set aside a basket to place all your phones into it as you enter the device-free area. In our family, we have no phones, screens or TV at the dinner table. Dinner time is where we choose to have conversations and spend quality time with the kids. It’s an easy way to kick off your digital diet!

2. Screen Jar

Ever notice the actual amount of times you are checking emails, social media, or something online while you are in front of your kids? It’s a lot more than you think! A great idea would be to have a “Screen Jar.” Similar to the concept of a “Swear Jar,” pay up every time you use a device in front of a family member. It holds everyone accountable to each other.

3. Alternatives

Getting that digital craving for games? Go offline! We’re a pretty active family and enjoy hiking, but in the winter months it gets a bit rough to haul myself outdoors. An easy alternative is Bringing back Family Game Night! Our family skews a bit younger than the recommended games, but we did recently add Hoot Hoot Owl to our board game collection for those 3 Years+.

4. Go Old School

Don’t give yourself excuses to break your digital diet by checking your phone. Go old school, check the time with your watch. Set family schedules with with a paper or whiteboard calendar. Drive without, (gasps) GPS! 

5. Turn off Notifications

It’s so hard to resist the urge, when you hear that familiar buzz or ding. Before you attempt to go on a digital diet, let’s not set ourselves up for failure. Turn off all those notifications. Set aside a designated time to do a quick one minute check-up and stick to it! If you need to answer a quick work email or text, excuse yourself and physically walk away. It helps you create a mindset, “Is it worthwhile for me to walk away from my family, right this instant? Or can it wait until I’m done with this activity?” A good idea would be to leave your phone in another room. 

It’s not easy to unplug, so best of luck on your digital diet endeavors. Hopefully, it will help you spend more quality time with your family. Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year to you and your family.

What changes will you be making this year?

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Van is a recent addition (3 years) to Westchester County and lives in Pelham with her husband and two daughters. She has a 2.5 year old, going on 16 and a 6 month old, the size of a 1 year old. She spent over 10 years in advertising as a Digital PM specializing in Gamification, before dedicating almost 2 years to her children as a SAHM. Always the over-achiever, she's a babywearing, cloth diapering, gluten-free cooking, bento lunch box making, p#ssy hat crocheting, and Lego building extraordinaire. In her "free" time, she's training for some half marathon, running a book club and trying to learn how to code (C++). She enjoys a nice bourbon and hashing it out with her husband on one of their old school consoles (video game).