Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen many techniques for managing screen time over the summer months. There are many websites that recommend a certain amount of time per age, games where kids can complete chores around the house (wouldn’t that be incredible to have small people doing all of the chores that I usually do?) and other ways that the kids can earn screen time.
It’s simple though.
For a simple summer screen time solution, you only need to follow one basic rule – the amount of screen time must be less than the amount of time spent doing other activities. If the kids want to spend a couple of hours on their iPads during the afternoon when the heat is unbearable and they’ve been outside all morning, that’s fine.
We are pretty flexible, if you want to use an hour of screen time in the morning, you’re going to spend an hour playing outside at the playground, or in the backyard, imagining something incredible, exploring the neighbourhood with friends.
As long as your children are spending an equal amount of time reading, writing, exploring, playing outside – you don’t have to worry about the imbalance that comes from watching television, using iPads or playing video games during the summer season.
No gimmicks, no chore jars with five minutes of screen time earned for emptying the dishwasher (in all fairness, that seems like an epic rip-off), and no struggles – just the basic knowledge that in order to gain screen time in the form of movies, television and entertainment, they’re going to have to balance it with other things, too.
It’s easy – and effective. Through the process, our kids are learning to self-regulate and evaluate the amount of time they are spending in front of the screen, comparing it to the amount of time they’re spending doing other things.