Now that summer has arrived, it's time to fight the battle of the screen. Screen time is always a challenge to navigate; how much is too much? But when you have things like school, homework and extracurricular activities there isn't always time. Summer is usually filled with nothing but time, so for kids that time should be screen time. For parents, we remember life before we were consumed with things like phones and tablets. Sure, we can recall watching a potentially unhealthy amount of television. But this handy checklist will help parents try to navigate the tricky situation of screen time.
The biggest thing that most parents find frustrating about screen time is how consuming it is. Some kids will sit in one place playing Minecraft for hours if you let them. It then turns into how to get them to do something, anything else. Begging and pleading doesn't always work, nor does fighting about it. But you still need to set some boundaries.
The suggestions on the list are pretty straightforward, but kids need concrete rules and examples. Some seem almost self-explanatory. You can't have screen time until you've brushed your teeth, eaten breakfast and gotten dressed for the day. It's difficult enough to get kids to eat without them staring at a screen. They don't need their devices first thing in the morning anyway.
You can also give them a list of chores to earn their precious screen time. Kids are often more inclined to do chores if they have some sort of reward. So it's really helpful to give them that motivation. If pick up all of their dirty laundry then they've earned their screen time. Making sure that their rooms are tidy is also a great trade for screen time. We'd venture to guess that there would be a lot of clean rooms that way! Helping an adult with something around the house is also a great way to spend time together and have them earn their time.
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But not everything has to be a chore. Spending time doing other fun screen free activities is a great way to earn screen time. Something like doing an art or craft activity for a half hour, forces them to use their imaginations in a different way. Reading a book or two, or being read to is also great. Playing with their own toys is a fair trade for then watching some other kid playing with toys. Most importantly, getting them to spend time outside! Chances are, they have so much fun, they don't even realize that they haven't spent their entire day staring at a tablet.
What are some ways you'll encourage your kids to play and not spend all summer on screens?
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