Part 2 of the Screenstrong Lifestyle Course
You’ve had your defining moment. You know in your gut your child’s screen use has become a problem and you’re committed to making a change in your home. But how?
We have your back. In our Screenstrong Lifestyle course, we give you the education you need to strengthen your resolve and create a home environment that is family-centered rather than technology-centered. We give you a solution for the dilemma of how to parent around kids and screens.
How the Screenstrong Lifestyle Course Works
The Screenstrong Lifestyle Course is divided into 2 parts:
- The Kids’ Brains and Screens Course
- The Solution Course
You can think of it this way: Part 1, The Kids’ Brains and Screens course, is all about science and facts. This is the education piece. Part 2, The Solution, answers the question: How do I fix this in my house?
In the beginning, when I started offering workshops, I used to provide a whole lot of education, but without this piece, without the solution, you’re lost. And I hate it when you go to listen to a speaker and they tell you all the things that are wrong with something, but they don’t tell you how to fix them. So, that is what we did in this part of the course. It has been tested, refined, and vetted by experts over a period of 8 years.
“We are losing our children to the digital world and we need to raise them in the real world. This is a course that should be mandatory for all parents of school-age kids.” – Tom Kersting, MA, LPC Psychotherapist, school counselor, and author of Disconnected: How to Protect Your Kids from the Harmful Effects of Device Dependency
In this post, I’ll give you the highlights of the course so you can determine if it is right for your family.
In The Solution, we walk you through the steps necessary to create a Screenstrong lifestyle. You’ll be able to follow these very same steps when you have a problematic screen situation in your home and need to detox your child from their video games or social media accounts.
In a nutshell: We provide the steps you’ll need to detox, but in addition to that, we give you an alternative lifestyle. When you’re finished, your home and family relationships will be transformed.
Furthermore, This course is vetted by physicians, pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors, people who’ve actually helped families remove problematic screens from their homes.
Lesson 1: Lead like a Coach
In this lesson, we go into your parenting role. My favorite part of this lesson is the list of negotiable versus non-negotiable matters in your home. All parents know that there are certain issues in life that are wrong and harmful and are not up for negotiation. It is up to parents—not young children or even older teenagers—to determine what can be negotiated and what cannot. Allow your teens to spread their wings and practice “choice” on the issues found on your negotiable list, not your non-negotiable list. This little section here, presented in a nice graphic, will change your life. It will change the way you parent. All of a sudden, you are going to have so much confidence when you talk to your kids about reducing screen time.
We will also unpack the ‘coach’s approach to parenting’. When you begin to see yourself as a coach you will be empowered to make the tough calls you need to make to help your child thrive. The tone of Part 2 is that of a team. You are not against your kids when you do this. Remember that. This lesson will help you answer the following question I always hear from parents:
“Aren’t you afraid your kids are going to hate you if you remove their screens?
My answer is: “No, absolutely not. We love each other and we have each other’s backs.” It is such a myth to think that your kids are going to hate you. Once you read this lesson, you’ll feel empowered to be the coach and take a stand. And, once you figure out that your role is that of a coach then you need to figure out your team values. When you get clear on your family values, you’ll find it much easier to evaluate parenting decisions and take a tougher stance when it is required.
Lesson 2: Prepare for Change
The second lesson is all about preparing for change because once you figure out what you have to do and what your values are, then you need to prepare for the changes you’ll have to make to support those values. If you don’t prepare, you will set yourself up for failure. Preparation is the key to success.
We will take you through the mental and physical preparations you’ll need to make before embarking on your journey.
Here, we include an entire section on friends. There is a cool fact in here that it takes 200 hours of time spent together in person with someone to build a friendship. Isn’t that incredible?
We also have a section on how to prepare for pushback. And you will get pushback. This information is so valuable. We even prepare you for the stages of grief your kids will go through when you remove their screens. They are losing their best friend, their games or their social media accounts, and they will be inconsolable at first. We prepare you for this reaction so you will be able to remain confident and stay the course.
You can compare this lesson to starting a new diet. If you were to just open up the fridge the day after you decided to go on a diet and it was full of Twinkies, you wouldn’t be able to stick to it. But, if you were to open up the fridge after you went to the store and bought a bunch of healthy, appealing snacks and after you threw out all the junk food, your chances of success would be much higher. This is the setup every parent needs to successfully complete the detox and make a permanent lifestyle change.
Lesson 3: Share the News
Lesson 3 covers sharing the news. Here, we actually give you conversations to have with your kids. We’ve refined the process of breaking the news to them. This is what parents ask for all the time.
“How do I tell my child we are going to do this detox and take away their phone?”
This is where you learn how. We help you share the news with your kids and give you tips for talking to friends, family members, school administrators, and others. This lesson will give you the confidence to keep the end goal in mind and not get caught up in the drama. We also include sample conversations to give you words to use with everyone in your child’s life.
Of course, this is a continuing conversation. There will be new arguments every year and at every grade level. Just remember: The Truth Never Changes.
We’ve even included a PDF with sample letters you can download and use for your child, your school, or even your doctor if you need to request school accommodations.
Lesson 4: Understand Screen Habits
This is one of the most critical lessons. It will help you understand how your child built the screen habit in the first place. You’re going to learn how cues and triggers work. You need to remove these if you want to have a successful detox. You will also learn how people develop habits and you’ll be creating new habits to replace the toxic screen use.
Furthermore, you’ll teach your child how to stay away from temptation. This section is amazing and it has a lot of science, but it’s easy to read and easy to understand. If you want to implement lasting changes in your home, you’ll need to understand screen habits and how they affect your kids.
Lesson 5: Remove the Screens
We opened lesson 5 with one of my favorite stories. It’s called Emily’s story and it comes from the book, Playstation Nation, by Curt and Olivia Bruner. This is one of the first books I ever read and I love it. This story is about a mom who is so frustrated, she – well, I’m not going to tell you because you have to go read it. But what she does is something we’ve all felt like doing.
This lesson goes into the pros and cons around all the different ways you can approach the removal of screens. We provide our recommendations and also include tips for parents with teens. This is a fantastic lesson
The next part of The Solution course is how to reset and reconnect at the same time.
Lesson 6: Reset Your Home
In this lesson, we will go through every room of your house to reset your home. This is a really fun lesson and there are so many great tips here. Get ready to create a Screenstrong home using your five senses. I can’t wait for more people to take advantage of this lesson. When screens are out of the picture and you’ve filled your house with fun activities, you will lesson the temptation for your kids to reach for screens.
Lesson 7: Retrain Life Skills
Lesson 7 is all about the importance of life skills. Boy is this close to my heart. If you’ve listened to my podcasts for a while, you know how I feel about life skills. And there are so many different categories of life skills. We have a lot of work to do with our kids before they leave us. They need to learn all sorts of skills to become more independent. This lesson is going to help you if you don’t know how to start teaching these skills.
At the end of the lesson, we have a printout of all the life skills you need your kids to learn. I told my boys the following when we went Screenstrong:
“Guess what, guys? You are going to learn how to do all of these things.” And I had an entire list of over 100 things, things like changing a light bulb, brushing teeth, and changing the cat’s litter box. I explained that they would have to learn all of them before they graduated from high school.
They just looked at me with their big brown eyes and said, “But mom? We’ll never get to play video games if we have to learn all this first.”
And I said, “That’s the point.”
I am so excited to share this list with you in this lesson.
Lesson 8: Restore Interests and Hobbies
Lesson 8 is all about restoring interest and hobbies. Parents wonder how many hobbies and extracurricular activities their kids should be involved in. Cultural expectations confuse them as they try not to overschedule kids.
I hear the following questions all the time:
- How do I balance everything?
- When will we have downtime?
- How do I not overschedule my kids?
After going through this lesson, you will come away equipped to help your kids build new hobbies and interests. When you do this, you’ll realize home much time screens take away from this really important work. Your kids will develop new hobbies and have a chance to shine and build confidence. This is so rewarding for both your child and you.
This lesson is so fun because you get to dream about all the things your kids can learn to do, from sports to music to drama to karate. There possibilities are endless.
Lesson 9: Reconnect Your Family
I used to really believe that when Adam, my oldest son, turned 16 he was an adult and able to make all of his own decisions. I will tell you now, as a seasoned mom of 4, that your kids need you more at this age than ever. Up until the age of 25, the frontal cortex is still developing. In this fabulous lesson, you’ll learn about parent-teen attachment, what harms the attachment relationship, how to build attachment offline, and why being different is difficult. We will share with you some best practices, the habits of connected families that matter most.
If the average family spends 37 minutes together each weekday, ask yourself how much more time your child spends online during the same day. Our kids are spending entirely too much time on screens.
When we value family attachment, we can teach our kids to be different in a culture that does not have the same values we do. This is so important for you kids.
When we build a strong family foundation and teach our kids not to always go along with the crowd, our children will grow in confidence. Teaching them how to stand out from the crowd might be the best gift you ever give your child.
This course is worth so much and it will change so many lives. If you take it, we would love to hear from you. We always welcome your feedback.
Stand up for your kids. Stand out from the crowd. Stay Strong!
If you want to know more about the science behind the screen detox and how screen affect brain development, check out this post on the first part of the course: Kids’ Brains and Screens.