Make Kids Earn Screen Time this Summer with this Free Printable
Summer is here and you know what that means? Fun in the sun, ice cream, lots of family time and more than likely, lots of screen time.
As school routines fade into summer memories, it’s understandable that screen time will increase as kids are faced with more downtime. But before the kids grab those iPads or phones, or hop online with friends, it’s good to set some summer time screen time guidelines and expectations. Not only will setting screen time limits encourage kids to get outside, use their imaginations, and increase physical activity – it will also decrease the amount of time they are potentially exposed to dangerous situations online.
So, how do you manage devices when kids get bored at home? Here are a few tips to keep kids safe online, and give parents a break too!
Six Tips to Help Set Screen Time Boundaries
1. Allow Kids to Have a Say in Screen Time– Yes, you heard us right! It’s easy to put our demands on our children and set screen time limits, but have you really talked to your children? Sit down prior to summer and ask your kids what they really want and need. Usually, they will ask for the moon, but when really prompted they know their limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no screen time at all for kids under two-years-old, and says kids ages two to five should get an hour or less per day. For school-aged kids, the AAP encourages families to create a plan together where parents and children negotiate limits and guidelines that are appropriate for each child and circumstance.
2. Don’t Allow Devices in Bedrooms – Bedrooms are for recharging bodies not devices. Try to keep all internet access in common areas where parents know what kids are up to online. You wouldn’t allow a stranger into your child’s bedroom in real life – the same should be true about who they communicate with online. Watch this powerful video from the Internet Watch Foundation.
3. Break Up Screen Time– Try to break up screen time with outdoor playtime or other activities. An hour at a time is best!
4. Model the Behavior You Want to See – Monkey see, monkey do. Any parent knows that kids imitate the behavior they see, even the not so good ones! If you don’t want kids to be addicted to devices, be careful how much screen time you are using. Kids are watching.
5. Screen Free Meal Time -Try to keep meals screen free and encourage conversation or use a topic-based game! Family meal time is a great place to really get to know what’s going on with each member of the family, and can be a valuable place of connection. Again, set the example by putting your phone away first.
6. Screen Time is Earned– Don’t just hand over those tablets at the first cry of boredom. Screen time is something to be earned not given. Figure out what’s important in your home and make a list of chores or activities kids must complete to earn their devices. If you don’t have time to make your own, use this free printable we’ve created!
And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to download an app like Bark to manage your children’s devices for you! Stay safe and happy summer!