With more time to use their devices and less time being supervised, kids will likely be taking advantage of the long days this summer to hone in on their tech skills. While I’m a supporter of technology and content creation, too much screen time can lead to hyper-emotional, non-compliant kids. An over-dose on devices can also lead to a negative impact on social development and communication skills. Here are some ways to control the screen time in your house before it takes over:
1. Set a timer. It’s easy to get busy with other parenting-type duties and is tempting to let the kids play on their devices while you get your own work completed. A good way to keep screen time in check is to set a timer. Kids can also see the time counting down and can expect when to hand over the iPad.
2. Transition into a fun activity. Once that timer has beeped, having another activity lined up can ease the transition away from tech time. A trip to the park, your child’s favorite craft or even a snack can make the switch a little smoother.
3. Save the tech for the road trip. Summer brings long car rides and plane trips. Save that movie your child really wants to see for when they are strapped in their seat and can’t move around much anyway.
4. Take it outside. There are lots of great apps to get your kids into nature. Geocaching, photography, and insect finding can inspire them to create amazing content or become neighborhood explorers. Plus, it will likely inspire them to get into the great outdoors on their own next time without the devices.
5. Sleep. Shut down those screens at least one hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens inhibits our body’s production of melatonin which we need for restful, high quality sleep. And we can all benefit from a good night of zzzzz’s.
“Kids don’t remember their best day of television” - a wise parent