Get Some Sleep!
Fr. Mike will spend the next few weeks sharing ideas to make your home a safe haven.
During my homily on Safe Haven Sunday, I mentioned that one practical way you can help protect your children from the dangers of pornography, as well as those of excessive cell phone, social media, and other “screen time” related issues, is by teaching them the Virtue of Temperance. Temperance is the “virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable” (CCC 1809). In other words, Temperance is the virtue which gives us the ability to say “no” to things which we want, but may not necessarily need or may not be good for us. And like all virtues, we have to practice them before they become natural.
So with cell phone and tablet use, one way to develop temperance is to have your child practice saying “no” by having a time each night when your child can no longer use their phone, tablet, or computer; they should hand it to you, or you can have a “charging station” in the kitchen. For so many reasons, none of your children should sleep with their phone, tablet, or computer in their room. One reason is that it disturbs their sleep, or prevents them from going to sleep. Many kids admit to staying up late just “scrolling” on their device or talking to friends. Research has found that almost 75% of high school and 58% of middle school children do not get enough sleep. Sleep recommendations are: 3–5 yr. =10–13 hrs/day; 6–12 yr. = 9–12 hrs/day; 13–18 yr. = 8–10 hrs/day. Additionally, doctors recommend an hour between screen use and when you go to sleep!
So do the math! If your 4yr/old child needs to wake up at 7:00a.m., phones, tablets, and TV’s should be off between 5:00p.m. and 8:00p.m! For your 15yr/old child who needs to wake up 7:00a.m., phones and tablets should be off and turned in to you between 8:00p.m. and 10:00p.m!
Remember: beginning this will be difficult, and your children are almost guaranteed to fight it! Rest assured knowing that you are doing what is best for them in the long-run. Get some sleep!