5 Tips for Managing Summer Screen Time
Summer’s here! School’s out, the sun is shining and your children are… glued to their phones, tablets and gaming consoles.
There’s nothing wrong with kids enjoying their gadgets, in fact, they should. As the world becomes more and more digitized, using technology isn’t just a pastime. It’s a vital life skill.
But when it starts to interfere with facetime, playtime, reading progress made during the school year or their ability to have fun without a device, it’s time to take action, and here’s how.
1. Play Together
Turn tech time into bonding time.
It’s tough. You know kids benefit from limited screen time, but that time often means much-needed downtime for you, right?
Why not accomplish both? You can pick a program or game you both like and enjoy it together.
Sitting with your child and talking about what you’re watching or playing gives you a chance to cuddle up and enjoy quality time while you get to know their interests.
2. Unplug & Play
Enjoy some tech-free QT.
To help keep screen time manageable, you could devote time each day just for unplugging and spending time together distraction free. That could be time talking during family meals. Spending an hour each day shooting hoops, doing arts and crafts or engaged in another favorite activity.
There are lots of creative ways to scrape out quality time away from the screen. Check out these ideas from Working Mother.
3. Show, Don’t Just Tell
Model healthy tech habits.
Kids, especially young children, are notorious mimics. So naturally, if you’re peering into your phone all day they’ll likely follow your example, no matter how much you discourage excessive device time. The good news is that the same is true if they see you off your phone for most of the day. That gives more time to connect for you and encourages independent free time for them.
4. Take a Screen-cation
Log off and get away.
With all the tech-related noise your child is exposed to year-round, what better way to energize their imagination and curiosity than by exploring outdoors? You could spend a few days in nature, go camping or visit outdoor festivals. Check out these gorgeous vacation destination ideas to get your child excited to go adventuring outdoors or, if you can’t get away, read these inspiring tips for wilderness exploration close to home.
5. Gamify & Reward
Make disciplined tech use fun!
One reason kids love gaming apps is the reward factor. That feeling they get when they score points, win badges and reach higher levels. You could harness that drive to win to encourage moderate tech use by assigning points for hours spent doing other things—like reading, playing outside or making something creative.
Tech-Balanced Summer Fun
When it comes to creating a balanced screen-time diet, phones, tablets and gaming consoles aren’t the enemy—and in fact can be a force for good! The most effective way to teach your child moderate tech habits this summer is to connect, model good behavior and make lots of fun activities available to keep them engaged outside of tech time.