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As a parent, figuring out an approach to screen time can feel overwhelming. With so many conflicting voices and opinions, so many scare stories about both the harm of devices and the need for children to learn how to use new technologies, it sometimes feels impossible to make sense of what the research actually says about the impact of screens on children, let alone figuring out how this translates into real life with your children.
You belong to the first ever generation of parents to have to manage the challenge of digital devices and the internet, and deciding on an approach can feel overwhelming.
And it’s not just your kids. As adults, we so often feel that our own devices have us in their grip. So many of the parents I work with talk about feeling addicted to their phones yet are unable to break the powerful habit of scrolling. I get it. Whether you spend all day with a small child, or feel disconnected from those you love whilst at work, it can feel like that small black screen is your lifeline to the outside world. You know that modelling responsible screen use is vital if you are to raise children who are able to navigate the digital age. But reclaiming control of your time spent online, and developing a genuinely healthy relationship with your phone – and social media – can feel like an impossible task.
This is why I have designed this course. It has been created as a non-judgemental resource to support you as you engage with the evidence and research and clarify your vision for how – and how often – you want screens to be used in the home. It’s not a course that will make you feel guilty for using screens, or tell you that you should never use them. It also won’t tell you that you should never regulate your children’s screen use, or make you feel bad for setting boundaries around them. It won’t tell you that you should throw your own phone in the bin.
In fact, this course won’t tell you what to do at all. Instead it will provide you with heaps of information, guidance, and practical advice, so that you can make your own decisions based on what you learn, and your own family’s needs and values.
“The course has been wonderful, and so perfectly timed for me. We have been struggling to find a balance in our house and everything that I have watched and read as part of this course has been extremely helpful. Starting with looking at my own screen use was the best possible starting point for me. As the course started I was reading a book called ‘The Enchanted Hour’. Listening to you speak about how important it was to tackle our own screen use first made me realize that I was reading this wonderful book with a phone in my hand to look things up as I went along, and it was totally impacting my ability to properly concentrate on what I was reading. I started to put my phone down (on silent) as I read and it was the first time in a long time that I felt fully immersed in what I was reading. I have loved all of the extra reading and posts, I’m still working my way through them, but overall the course has definitely helped me immensely! Thank you Eloise!”
What will we cover
The first module of the course is all about you and your own relationship with screens, technology, and social media; after all, we are the ones who need to be modelling healthy screen use to our children. We’ll look what the research says about adults and technology, explore why parents can feel compelled to spend so much time online, and you’ll be supported as you dig deeper into your feelings about your own screen use. You’ll come away with a whole range of practical – and attainable – tips for helping you spend less time looking at your phone, and a clear strategy for making sure the time you’re spending online is leaving you feeling good.
This week also includes some interviews with Ruth Poundwhite, Beth Henson and Rowan Webley where we discuss how they are working to build intentional relationships with their devices.
Now we’ve spent time on your relationship with screens, it’s time to think about your family. The second module of the course will talk you through some of the varied research and writing on children, screens, television, games, and social media. Taking an impartial view, you’ll get an honest look at what the evidence says, and how to interpret it, and what it might mean for your family. You’ll finish the week feeling empowered to make your own decisions around screens, confident that your choices are rooted in sound knowledge.
The third module of the course will focus on keeping your children safe online at every age, including certain things to watch out for. We’ll look at how you can support your children in building a healthy relationship to screens, and how to spot signs of screen addiction or a harmful relationship with screens.
This module also includes access to an interview with Maria Evans focusing on how to support children in building a healthy relationship with screens at a young age which will last them well into their teen years.
The fourth module is all about putting the above into practice, creating a whole family environment where screens are neither feared nor relied upon. You’ll be supported to work out an approach to screen time that feels right for your entire family’s needs and values. We’ll cover talking to children about their screen use, setting confident limits, and how to reduce your screen time as a family (if this is something you identify as being beneficial for you).
“This course has been fantastic! Thank you so much for all that you do. I like how you talk about “balance”… how you examine the positives and the negatives and provide different ideas for use. You have provided reassurance and a fresh perspective in how I feel about my family’s screen use. We plan to continue to evaluate and re-evaluate our screen use to find an enriched balanced diet of screen time. This is a unique course, and a very timely topic.”
“Thank you for the course, I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot of things that I wouldn’t necessarily have gone and researched myself, also am loving your book recommendations which I’m currently working my way through. It’s made a HUGE different in the way I approach my daily screen use. It isn’t an overstatement to say it totally changed my outlook on the way I want to use screens in future myself, and the way I would like my family to incorporate screens in our current and future life. I think it’s also given me facts and confidence to back up what I instinctively felt – that limited, focused use of screens is the way forward for us. It has made me feel a lot less out of control regarding the whole screen time issue. It also reinforced my commitment to working on our bond with our children. Thanks again!! I hope to take another one of your courses in future!”
Is this course for me?
Yes, if you want to feel confident crafting your approach to screen time – for yourself and for your children.
The course will suit you if you want to make your own mind up about what the best approach is for your family, but you’d like someone to compile all of the varied research and literature that’s out there on the subject and make it more accessible for you.
You do not need to live in the UK to take part – parents from all over the world enrol in my courses, and I love that they are always international.
You do not need to use Facebook for this course, although you will have access to a Facebook group.
“Thank you so much for running this course on screens! While I am currently happy with my little one’s current screen use, this is a topic of anxiety for me with regard to how it will shape up in the future, and it was great to have this course as a starting point from which to think about how to navigate this delicate line. The first week on evaluating our own screen use was also incredibly helpful as it is an area in which I need (and will continue to need) work, and in which I know I need to make some changes in order to model healthy tech use. The content was sound, easily digestible, and non-judgemental, which is exactly what I needed! I also truly appreciated the answers to questions, and willingness to delve more deeply into concerns on screen limits, and how to balance that with peaceful parenting. I can certainly see myself revisiting this content again and again over the coming years as our little one grows!”
How will the course be run?
Each module includes access to an in-depth video workshop on each topic. A workbook accompanies each module, filled with information and research, as well as questions to get you thinking about what would work for you and your family. Each workbook includes a carefully curated reading list for those of you who want to dig even deeper. You will be able to work through these at your own pace.
A private Facebook group provides a supportive space for ongoing community discussion with like-minded parents (though it’s not necessary to join it).
“I loved the course and it has given me a lot of confidence about how I want our home screen use to look like now, and going forward. This course has helped me feel like I have the tools to tackle challenges as they come up for us. So, thanks!”
How do I book?
The course is now part of Beautiful Parenting.
Eloise Rickman is an author, parent educator and founder of A Beautiful Childhood. She works with clients around the world through online courses and coaching. Her work focuses on children’s liberation, children’s rights, and how adults see, raise, and educate children. Extraordinary Parenting (Scribe, 2020) is her first book, and her second book (still untitled) will be published in early 2024.
Eloise is a trained doula, and previously read social anthropology at Cambridge University where she first became interested in how childhood and family practices shape society. She is currently working towards an MA in Children’s Rights.
Eloise believes that parenting can be a radical act, and that changing the way we raise and educate children has the potential to shape and change society for the better. Her work has been featured on the BBC, and she is a regular guest on podcasts. She lives in South London with her husband and young daughter, who has been home educated from birth.