But unlike remote learning, which so many of us experienced this past year, summer is different. There are no responsibilities. There’s no homework. And the kids are asking, “What are we going to do?”
One phrase I’m hearing constantly is, “Now that we don’t have school, can I get on my (insert device name)?”
Now, depending on the age of your kids, you may end up having a lot of conversations about screen time.
But whether it’s an iPad, Kindle, or a TV screen, it’s our job as parents to create boundaries around screen usage – especially in the summer.
How much is too much?
So how much screen time is too much? Are some screens and activities better or worse than others?
The truth is – it’s different for every family. Schedules are different. Needs are different, and family dynamics are too. What works for our family of seven kids might be a little different than what works for yours.
But as we figure out our family’s guidelines and boundaries (do this with your spouse), intentionality should always be the focus.
“When we’re being intentional with our kids, our kids will mirror what they see.”
If mom and dad are always looking at their phones, we’re essentially telling our kids that screens are worthy of more of our time and attention than anything else.
So what are your kids learning about technology by watching you?
By no means do Benjamin and I have this all figured out. But there are a few things we’ve learned that make a big difference when it comes to screen time in the home.
3 Ways to Win While Your Kids Are Out of School
1. Set “off-limit” days and/or times for screens.
Whether you decide to do screens only on weekends or have two designated blocks of screentime each day, setting boundaries will help you as a parent to use screentime for your benefit. You’ll also leave space for your kids to develop other interests and get creative with their time.
2. Use screen time as a reward for things like reading, cleaning, etc.
It’s not bribery if you’re actually teaching your kids something, right? Maybe screentime comes only after they do their chores, clean their room or read a book for an allotted amount of time. Think of screentime as a reward, not a right, and your kids will follow your lead.
3. Ask questions and stay in the know about what your kids are up to on their devices.
This is especially important as our kids get older, get their own phones, etc. Check-in with your kids. Don’t just let them sit in front of a screen. Ask them about the games they’re playing. Take a look at the shows they’re watching. If you as a parent aren’t keeping tabs on what they’re seeing and influenced by, no one else will.
Have other thoughts and tips on screentime in the summer? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!