Tips for Spreading the Word
Being a TLO champion may seem overwhelming at times but it doesn’t have to be! Take it step-by-step. You’ll be surprised to learn how many people support this initiative. Let’s work together to give our children a heads-up, hands-free childhood.
Here are some ways you can get the ball rolling and continue the momentum in your community. Check back often to refresh your memory and to find new ideas. You can also download our checklist here.
First things first. Sign your community up and check Yes! to be a TLO Champion. We will provide you with all the support you need. Email us for more information, with questions or just to brainstorm. We are always happy to chat on the phone. Just let us know and we can setup a time.
Reach out to your friends. The best next step is to reach out to friends who you know share your same concerns about technology. Personal experiences and emails are always best. We also have a template to help you get started. Remind parents that we support parents in three ways: As Promise Members to delay smartphones, as Public Supporters of healthy technology use and as private Subscribers.
After your initial email, consider a more broad email to the parents in your child’s class. Most parents have access to a school directory. If not, reach out to your room parents to see if they can help.
Enlist the support of your school PTO/PTG and principal. These can be great allies! We have had principals and superintendents help our TLO/Promise Champions spread the word through their own blogs or newsletter. Click here for a sample blurb you can supply for your principal or superintendent.
Ask your PTO/PTG to help spread the word with a direct email to your school community or submit one yourself to your school newsletter. Here is a sample.
We find that face-to-face meetings with these key players are best. Make sure to take a quick look through our talking points before the meeting or reach out and we’ll setup a time to chat. If they agree to support your initiative, let us know so we can add them to your list of partners. If they want to remain neutral, that’s ok, too. It’s a good idea to keep them informed anyway.
Ask your PTO/PTG if you can speak at the next meeting. Here are some talking points.
Reach out to your community newspaper with a letter to the editor. You can use this sample email as a template.
Share your page via Facebook and other social networking sites. For a list of sample posts, click here.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share our posts. We are always posting the latest articles and events. Make sure you follow us and invite others to follow us, too. Find us here on Facebook and soon on Twitter.
Consider creating a public and/or closed Facebook group. Or join and promote our closed google group here. You must be a current member of a TLO community to participate in our closed group. Turning Life On is all about supporting parents and this is a great place for parents to ask questions and share information. Invite all parent members to participate.
Hold a parent coffee to introduce your TLO Community - give parents a place to just talk it out. These are very popular in Concord and are easy to plan. We have utilized our local recreation center but your community library, school caf or library and/or hospital are good places to find free space. If this feels too impersonal, your home can also work! All you need are some chairs and an open mind. Share your experiences and our Why Delay? PDF. A copy of our FAQs may also come in handy. Bring a laptop so parents can signup on the spot. Be sure to let us know so we can list the event on your community page and help you promote it through direct emails to your members. Here is a sample blurb you can use to promote the event through your PTG/PTO newsletter.
Hold a technology information session. A member of our school community had a brilliant idea! In a none confrontational way, interview your principal, technology specialist and other key leaders at your school. Find out how many kids have smartphones and what the policies are. Share your findings at a parent coffee and ask the parents for suggestions. Share those suggestions with your school. For a list of sample questions, click here. Make sure you share the event date with us so we can list it on your page and help you promote it.
Set up a booth at a local community event. A few of our communities have had great success spreading the word at any type of community event from Town Days to Boo Bashes! Bring a laptop for easy sign up (either online if you have internet access or with a spreadsheet). You may also want to bring copies of the Why Delay? PDF and these FAQs. Be sure to let the organizers know you intend to help promote the event. Then reach out to us and we will help you do that by posting the event on your page and/or sending an email to your members.
Bring a speaker to your community. This is a great way to connect the people who know with the people who want to know in an effort to disseminate the latest research. The Children’s Screen Time Action Network is working hard on a speaker bureau that will be helpful in finding speakers in your area. In the meantime, reach out and we can make suggestions. We also find that panels work really well. Panels can include a professional in the field as well as other people in the community who support our initiative, for example your school technology specialist or principal, a local psychologist or pediatrician and a parent. The cofounders of Turning Life On and Concord Promise are also available for a small fee. We realize speakers can be expensive. Consider partnering with your school district, PTO/PTG, community social worker or recreation center, local hospital, library, museum or any other local organization. Be sure to let us know so we can list the event on your page and help you promote it with direct emails to your members.
Promote an event in another community. Check out our events page for a list of events happening in the Boston area and webinars through the Children’s Screen Time Action Network. These events can be a great place for parents to get information. And a great way to keep the conversation going. Know of an event? Please share it so we can communicate it to our larger community.
Hold a community movie screening. There are two documentaries that we recommend - Screenagers and Celling Your Soul. Make sure to bring flyers to or plan to speak after the screening so parents can learn more about Turning Life On and feel empowered to make some changes in your community.
Reach out to other leaders in your community. This can include preschools, religious leaders, community social workers, pediatricians, psychologists, town officials and other people who work with children (like coaches and activity teachers). Ask them to help you spread the word in their work. Often they will be willing to write about Turning Life On on their social media platforms or blogs. Remind them that we support all parents. If they agree to support your initiative, let us know so we can add them to your list of partners.
Plan an event during Screen Free Week in early May. In Concord, we have partnered with our local toy store to reward kids who stay screen free with a gift certificate. The Toy Shop is so supportive they also sponsor a screen free week in the fall! We will be in touch with our Champions to share other ideas.
Reach out to your school and suggest a Tech Free Day. It was well planned and successfully done at The Fenn School in Concord. Reach out and we will share the details.
Send a follow up email. If you’ve been at this for a few months, consider sending an email to your parent members and supporters asking them to help you spread the word. This can be a quick and easy way to double your parent community. Reach out and we can send that email through MailChimp.
Remember, the purpose of Turning Life On is to support parents locally. We are all different and our needs may not be the same. Do what feels right for your community. The best thing you can do is listen. What do the parents in your community need most?
Ask for our support. We are available to support you with your local initiative. You can reach out at any time!