It is inevitable. Long days, little structure. Screen time for kids struggles are to be expected.
What’s a parent to do!
It is an ongoing challenge at our house, but I have some ideas that we have tried in the past and some other suggestions to help manage your summer screen time for kids struggles.
The WHO recently released new screen time guidelines for kids under 5. Less is more!
For older kids, it can be more challenging. The American Academy of Pediatrics has created a tool to help families set healthy screen time limits for kids. Create your own family media use plan here.
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1) Set a Timer
One tried and true method is to have a set amount of time for screens. This might be what you set for the school year or it may be expanded.
Personally I struggle with a set time period like 2 hours because there are the inevitable interruptions or the excuses of “my game was loading for 20 minutes,” etc. However, I know lots of people have made this strategy work.
To set a time limit on your iPad or iPhone using Guided Access, read more here.
You can also use the new Screen Time feature to set limits and timers on iPad and iPhone. Read more here.
You can also just set a good old-fashioned timer.
2) Set a Boundary
A boundary works as a set time when screens must be off. For example, you can play before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. This sets some limits but is easier to manage than a hard and fast set time.
This also works if you are relatively flexible about your kids spending a lot of time online in the summer but you do want some limits on it.
Some tech tools to help you enforce this include:
Microsoft Family will allow you to set times when the computer can be available or time limits for use.
Circle by Disney can also enable time limits or boundaries to control usage.
Check your router because many now provide parental controls.
3) Creator vs. User
Tech is not just mindless entertainment. Kids can also do a lot of really valuable activities online. For example rather than playing a game, they could be coding one. There are many ways to use tech creatively. Not all screen time is created equal.
One idea for summer is to balance online time between creating time vs. using time.
4) Tech Tokens
We used this strategy a lot when the kids were younger. Similar to the time strategy, have physical tokens (such as magnets on the fridge, laminated tickets, or other tangible) that kids can turn in for a set amount of tech time.
You can assign a set number per day or you can have kids earn them by doing chores or other tasks.
Tech Tokens are also flexible because you can set the time they represent, such as 20 minutes or 2 hours. Download yours here!
Some brave souls go screen free for the summer or at least part of it. Honestly, I’m not sure I could do this myself. However, there are undoubtedly benefits.
Read more about how one mom helps reduce screen time for kids in the summer.
What strategies do you use to manage screen time for kids?
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