In the era of Siri and Amazon Prime, children are used to things available at their fingertips. It’s funny to think that your third grader might even be more tech savvy than you are! Summer vacation means free time for your little ones, and it’s important that they don’t become couch potatoes before they head back to school! Here are 5 strategies to manage screen time during the summer.
The most important way to manage screen time during the summer when your kids have ample free time, is to establish a set of strict rules. A fairly standard rule is allowing your children 1-2 hours of screen time (whether that be television, surfing the web, using a tablet, playing video games, you name it) per day.
Use a timer to keep track, or set a number of how many episodes your child is allowed to watch. Write down your rules and post them somewhere easily visible to your children (in your family room, next to the computer, etc.) to show how serious you are and allow less room for bargaining.
If it’s a rainy day and you’re having trouble keeping kids busy indoors, check out this list of rainy day activities.
For example, no screen at the dinner table, in the bedroom, in the car, or taken outside of the home. Avoid letting your children bring their devices on playdates or when they go outside. Outdoors time should be about being active and appreciating nature. It’s not a bad idea to establish a time for your children to turn their electronics in every night.Learn to manage screen time this summer with the 5 simple strategies Click To Tweet
In fact, for proper and restorative sleep, it’s best to minimize interactive screen time altogether in the hours leading up to bedtime. Screens emit artificially bright light that suppresses melatonin, the sleep hormone released by darkness, making it hard for your little one to fall asleep.
Learning to manage screen time during the summer is hard when your kids have so much more free time! Sit down with your spouse and/or with your children to brainstorm activities to keep your kids busy and away from screens!
If you need help coming up with ideas, this article has all sorts of boredom busters!
Try to come up with a broad range across three categories: active/physical (children should engage in physical activity for at least 60 minutes a day), creative (arts and crafts, building things, imaginary play, etc.), and leisurely (reading, resting, journaling, playing board games, etc.).
Know the difference between active and passive screen time. When kids are actively engaged, they learn though the content on the screen and the device becomes a learning tool. Passive screen time, however, is all about consumption. Look into educational apps, television programs, and movies. Encourage your children to use their screen time to journal or draw on their devices!
You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Parents need to model what they expect from their children and set an example by looking away from their screens. Children will not respect the rules if they see mom and dad scrolling through Facebook all of the time.
Think of screens like junk food: indulge in moderation. Technology is a very important part of life and societal advancement, but it should not dictate what you or your children do on a daily basis. Find a balance that works for your family and embrace it!