Are you frustrated that your kids are spending too much time staring at a screen this summer? How can you reduce screen time for kids this summer? During the summer, kids have less structured schedules, more freedom, and more free time to spend doing things that they enjoy. It doesn’t help that there is so much technology fighting for your child’s attention whether it be the Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Playstation, cell phones, tablets, television, or other devices that your child can spend countless hours on. Kids today spend way too much time staring at a screen and don’t spend enough time outdoors or helping around the house.
Let’s take a look at some ways that can help you control and limit the amount of time your child is allowed to spend staring at a screen this summer.
Create a Screen Free Zone
Set up a certain time or spot in your house, such as dinner time, as a screen free zone. During this set period of time, no one is allowed to be busy staring at a screen. The kitchen table is a great place to start when it comes to creating a screen free zone. Anytime that your kids are at the kitchen table have your child place their device in a designated area away from the table to avoid any temptations. Use this time to interact and talk to each other face to face.
Don’t be afraid to even restrict screens in your child’s bedroom. Kids who are allowed to have devices, such as a phone, television, gaming system, or tablet in their room, are more likely to stay up later compared to their peers who don’t have any screened devices in the bedroom. Staying up late during the summer may seem like no big deal but when school is back in session your kids can be tempted to sneak onto their devices when they are supposed to be sleeping. But if you remove screens from their bedroom, you won’t have to fight them to go to sleep when it is bedtime. Nor do you have to worry about your child suffering from sleep deprivation.
Set Time Limits
Instead, of giving your child free reign to spend as much time as they want staring at a screen. Do set reasonable time limits throughout the summer. You can either use parental controls, a timer or even make your children earn screen time in exchange for doing chores and helping around the house.
Encourage Your Child to Use Educational Apps
Not all apps are created the same. If your child is spending hours watching videos, movies, or playing games, then your child isn’t gaining anything from it. Apps such as Learn It 2 Earn It, is a great parental control software, that allows your child to earn screen time for using educational apps. There are other apps that are similar and encourage your child to spend time reading or using educational apps.
With the pandemic, educators have noticed that kids were struggling more this year than before. The best way to help your child retain the information that they have learned during the previous school year is to spend a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes reading and using educational apps that support concepts that they were learning before summer break.
Plan Summer Events
During the school year, kids tend to stay busier with after-school activities and sports that keep them from spending hours staring at a screen. Do plan summer events such as sports workshops, go to girl or boy scout camp, enroll them in an online class, volunteer at the food bank or homeless shelter, go on a family vacation, or do other screen-free activities. Keeping them busy will reduce their screen time.
Be a Good Role Model
Kids model the same behavior as their parents so if you are cutting their screen time, challenge yourself to do the same. I get that cutting off your cell phone or checking your work email at home is sometimes necessary. But if you catch yourself playing an hour’s worth of games on your phone at night, you can either opt to read a book instead or put the phone away.
The average child is spending more than the CDC recommended guidelines of 2 hours of screen time on a daily basis. Too much screen time is unhealthy and kids aren’t spending enough time outside or exercising, unlike the older generations. So if you find that you are frustrated with your child’s screen time activities, use this guide to help you implement a new routine and keep your kids from staring at the screen too much this summer.