Sunday, September 21, 2014

Creating a Family Media Plan by Jocelyn Christensen

With school back in session, many parents turn their attention to getting our homes and daily schedules in order and bringing kids' bedtimes back to a reasonable hour!

In all of that reordering of our lives, we'd be wise to take a fresh look at another important area of our lives, and that is how we use media in our homes.

I was interviewed recently and used as a source for the August 2014 Ensign article called "Taming the Media."

The author Starla Butler was awesome to work with, and she did a great job of really packing the article full of real, applicable, useful advice that is easy to tailor to every home and every family situation. 

I encourage you to read the article yourself and then do as it suggests: sit down together as a family and create an outline for how media should be used in your home and review/revise it regularly as needed.  

Our family did just that recently when we created our own family media plan.  

We also created a free family media planning worksheet that you can download HERE and use to facilitate a discussion with your own family.  

Using suggestions from "Taming the Media," our Family Media Plan worksheet asks families to consider how they will determine if media is appropriate, to set their own guidelines for using media at various times including the Sabbath, and to discuss what they will do when they run into inappropriate media online and elsewhere.

The Family Proclamation indicates that parents should work together to teach, guide, nurture, and protect their children.  Let us not forget to actively fulfill this charge when it comes to the role of media in the lives of our family members!

When we were finished coming up with our family media plan, we all signed the bottom of our worksheet to indicate that we would all commit to follow our plan.  Our family also came up with a "family media motto" to remind us of our plan (which you can read more about in this post).  

TO ACCESS our free Family Media Plan worksheet, please go read the rest of this post at Sugardoodle.  There you will find the free printables pictured at the top of this post and more helpful tips on making media work for you in your home and family!

Since the Taming the Media article covers family media planning from many angles, I thought I'd share a few more simple suggestions for how you could analyze your family media usage in the home.  Here are a few things you might want to do before setting new media rules for your home.

---Look at how each member of the family is spending their time online/using media throughout the day.  To track this information, you might want to print out this free timeline template and write down your observations throughout the day.  Write down all of the media usage that occurs during a 12 hour period (including time parents spend online, on their phones, etc).  Include the entire family in this effort.  This should give you a good jumping off point for figuring out what patterns of behavior you like and which ones your family needs to curb.

---As a family, search the words of modern prophets and apostles to discover what guidelines they suggest when it comes to media consumption. (There are lots of great resources within the article itself.)  You can also read the church's guidelines in the media section of For the Strength of Youth.

---Based on what church leaders have said on this topic, choose a family media motto that is easy to remember and which expresses your own goals for the role that media should play in your home. 

--Revisit/Review your family media plan together often to make sure your use of media at home meets your family's goals and intentions. 

And please check out the post at Cranial Hiccups today.  

Now it is your turn:  On Monday, please check back here to add links to your own blog posts about The Family Proclamation below. The link-up will not go live until tomorrow, you have plenty of time to write a post and add it to the link-up party.

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