How To Unplug the Kids This Summer
Gadgets need to be plugged in to recharge. Conversely, nothing drains kids’ batteries like keeping them plugged in throughout the day. The American Academy of Pediatrics found that today’s kids spend seven hours a day on various devices. Their recommendation is no more than two hours a day.
Thankfully, help is here. With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to whisk the kids out the door for some healthy fun. Here are some dos and don’ts as you motivate them.
Don’t: Give the “WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE” speech.
I mean, feel free to do this if your goal is to get your kids to roll their eyes instead of going outside. It may seem like the perfect motivator to you, but they simply don’t care about the good ol’ days.
Do: Model the behavior.
If you’re telling them to get off the tablet while you’re tethered to your phone, what kind of example does that set? Make sure they see you going out for a jog, doing yard work, working on the car, etc. so your words have action behind them.
Don’t: Ban screens entirely.
Every family is different, and yours might believe in the power of banning screens. But unless you have kids under 3, this is a tricky tactic. Forbidding something often makes them desire it more.
Do: Set healthy screen time limits.
A good policy might be no more than one hour of screen time on a beautiful day and no more than two on a rainy day. Make sure to closely monitor what your kids consume, and share screen time with them whenever possible.
Don’t: Send them outside without a plan.
Sometimes, this can’t be helped. The house might be a mess, or you might have a swarm of things to catch up on. But when the pace of your day allows for it, a better option is to…
Do: Help them and play with them.
At breakfast, come up with some ideas and help them get excited about the day’s possibilities. Then, head outside with them and play. Here are a few ideas to get the brainstorming started.
- Ride the bikes to favorite family spots
- Wash the car by hand
- Grab a ball and invent a new game
- Useful ways to use devices: Google “outdoor activities” or film a funny video
- Go to an outdoor event
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a movie or a hilarious YouTube video together, but true family bonding happens away from screens.