Summer Screen Time: How to Find a Balance

Can we just be honest for a moment?  It is really hard to go through summer without screens becoming the main event.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to work from home.  And in my mind I thought, “this is going to be great.  I will have the flexibility to pick my kids up from school, get them home so they can start doing their daily responsibilities, maybe throw a load of laundry in the washing machine every now and then, and be on top of dinner preparation.” You know, help my family run a little more smoothly, especially with two working parents.

Turns out, having your children home with you when you’re trying to work, is an actual disaster.

My daughter loves coming into my office anytime she hears me on a zoom call, both kids struggle to find things to do, they’re bickering with one another, and then need full-time supervision. 

Sometimes, I totally give in and I turn them over to the digital babysitter a.k.a. any electronic device that will hold their attention so I can get my work done.

Whether you work from home, work outside of the home, or are a stay-at-home mama, we have to teach the kids how to manage their screens and their time - especially in the Summer!

Work from home mom

The problem is kids have a hard enough time remembering to brush their teeth, or hold their silverware the right way, let alone be self aware enough to turn off a highly entertaining device that was DESIGNED to hold their attention. 

Our kids don’t realize what they are missing out on. They don’t realize that it’s ok to be bored, it’s ok to use their imagination, it’s ok to go dig in the dirt and find bugs. 

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to let summer be consumed by screens.

So how do we make it all work?  How do we teach our children self control in a way that they not only understand but can be kind of fun. 

#1 We MUST lead by example. If you don’t want your kids walking through the house with their face glued in on their phone/device - you can’t walk around with your face glued to your device. We MUST model the behavior we are expecting from our children.

#2 Try to have some fun! For example, my son would CONSTANTLY leave the Xbox remote on the sofa instead of putting it away. So I decided one day that I was going to hide it, and if he wanted to play, he would have to look for it like an egg on Easter. After a while of searching we would play the ‘hot/cold’ game. So if he was far from the remote, I would say ‘cold’ if he got closer I would say ‘hot.’  He wasn’t thrilled about this activity but it worked.  And there was no yelling, arguing, or complaining.  We actually had some laughs along the way. 

#3 Teach them to set a timer. Decide on a specific amount of screentime for each day (if you choose to let them be on screens every day) and reward their responsibility when they hear the timer, get up, and turn off the screen and the timer. The recommendation from the AAP is to encourage healthy habits and limit activities that include screens for children ages 6 and above.

It makes me emotional when I think about how much more awareness my children have now than they used to. They even notice others being absolutely consumed by their device and unable to connect or have conversations. 

Teaching them to manage screens and screen time has been an accumulation of consistent reinforcement of me practicing what I preach, Having some fun along the way, and holding them responsible to manage their time.

I know you're busy, I know you have a huge ‘to-do’ list and sometimes it's completely overwhelming.  But I want to encourage you to be consistent, be firm, and have fun! 

Cheers to more sunshine and less screens this summer! 

If you need additional ideas and ways to Balance Screen time this Summer, download our Free Guide: 10 Ways to Balance Screentime This Summer here. 

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