Nothing is more frustrating then seeing your children on their electronics on a beautiful, summer day. With no homework or pressure to wake up early, your kids may be easily tempted to get “plugged in”. With a little planning, managing electronic devices in the summer is possible.
Keep a summer structure
While we may love those carefree and lazy days of summer, children benefit from structure. Structure and consistent routines generate a sense of predictability for kids. This means less chaos and the possibility of problematic behaviors. Children will know what to expect and can be kept busy with certain responsibilities around the house. Without structure, kids may be tempted to spend countless hours on their electronic devices.
Set guidelines ahead of time
Reducing screen time can be hard for some parents as they may not feel prepared for the meltdowns that will follow. Have a conversation with your children and set guidelines for when and how long they can use their devices. Consider creating and posting the rules in a common area for the whole family to see. Don’t forget to have a Plan B, especially if your plans fall through or if it is a rainy day. It’s okay to make an exception, so long as everyone agrees.
The “I’m bored” syndrome
For some parents, hearing “I’m bored”, is preferred over the battle that may ensue trying to transition their children off electronics. When this happens, parents may be more likely to give in and allow kids extra electronic time. In order to foster creativity and imagination, children need to feel a sense of boredom. When their minds wander, they will explore new ways to keep busy.
Managing the pleas
You may be faced with a child who is begging and telling you that it is not fair because school is out, and their idea of summer fun is versing their friends online. Or perhaps you may hear, “My game is almost over, please mom, can I have 15 more minutes?” Managing electronic devices in the summer means standing your ground. As hard as it might be, don’t give in to the pleas. If you give in one time, your children will learn that you are not serious. Instead, prepare your child for the transition by using a count-down. For example, tell them they have 10-minutes left, then five minutes, and at the two-minute mark, sit with them and make a positive comment on what they are doing before you remind them to shut down.
Spend quality time together
Summer provides the opportunity to spend quality time as a family. Whether it is a day trip or even an hour-long activity, your undivided attention can go a long way. Going for walk, playing a board game or even shopping for arts and crafts are great activities that allow for bonding.
Be a role model
Children learn a lot from what they see and hear us do. In order to be effective in managing electronic devices in the summer, you need to be a good role model. Limit your own screen time. As a household, set a time for when the family is allowed electronics. You may also want to consider that screen time is a privilege that needs to be earned.
Summer is short and too much screen time can impact our children. When parents do not manage electronic devices in the summer, children’s growth and the family bond is not nurtured. So as difficult as it may seem, limit screen time and don’t miss out on all those activities that will create lasting memories.
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