Shortening Screen Time for the Summer

Image Courtesy of ShanghaiMama

School’s out, summer’s in! Now that your kids no longer have homework and after-school activities to keep them busy all day, they finally have time to relax and have some fun. 

However, their idea of a relaxing, fun time might just be staring at their laptop, phone, tablet, or TV all day. So how can you ensure that your kids have a balanced and productive summer without banning their electronic devices outright?

  • Set clear screen time limits in advance. Sit down with your children and have a clear discussion about reasonable time limits, purposes, and occasions for screen time. Perhaps you agree to put electronics away while in the car, or that they can only watch two hours of Netflix per day. Whatever you decide, make sure to write it down on paper and post your rules somewhere visible in your home so that everyone can be kept accountable. Your kids will be much more willing to comply to rules they agreed to in advance, than if you interrupt them in the middle of a video or game to tell them to turn their devices off. 
  • Keep them busy with summer camps and classes. Attending either a fun or academic summer camp for most of their day will definitely keep kids away from their cell phones! Most camps have a no-phone rule and full schedules to ensure that campers are occupied for the entire day. Furthermore, not only will your kids be keeping their brains and bodies active at camp, they’ll also have the opportunity to exercise their social skills while making friends and working in teams. You can find thousands of summer camp options on ActivityHero, as well as apply for scholarships to make camps more affordable this summer. 
  • Schedule screen-free family activities. If your children still can’t put their electronic devices down while they’re at home, try spending time with them by doing some hands-on activities. Driving to the beach, going for a hike, or even a day at your local amusement park will keep them focused on the present. If you don’t have hours to spare, there are still plenty of options right in your own neighborhood: cooking a meal or walking the dog together are easy tasks that will keep your kids engaged.
  • Make their screen time productive. Encourage your kids to do something creative with all the media they consume everyday. If they love to watch YouTube, help them get started on making their own videos. If they love to play video games, enroll them in coding classes so they can learn how to build their own. ActivityHero also offers a huge selection of fun tech-based classes including videography and animation – ask your children what they’re interested in to ensure that they’ll stay engaged and passionate about their new project.

At the end of the day, it’s all about balance. Screen time should be balanced with learning and play. Your kids will be kept busy, you can relax, and everyone will be satisfied with the way they spent their summer.