Manage Kids’ Technology to Prevent the ‘Summer Slide’

by Screen Time Team on 12/06/2019
Child lying on the floor relaxing.

Get A Handle On The Problem

Not all “slides” are created equal. For example, kids who are good readers with or without school assignments will maintain their language skills. But not many children solve polynomial equations or do chemistry experiments for fun, so those might slip.

Conversely, most kids don’t need to complete a certificate course over the summer. Focusing on maintenance of skills, as opposed to improving them, is a good approach. A few hours of fun activities at a camp, or tutoring during the hottest parts of the day, can keep kids mentally and physically on the ball.

Balance Structured and Unstructured Time

Summer comes with gobs of free time for kids, and without structure, that time can quickly be filled by video games, playing on the phone, and watching TV all day. While kids deserve some unstructured time every day just like the rest of us, structure is also good. Use parental control apps to limit when they can play games or watch video, and to enforce a schedule of outside, or at least non-screen, time.

Also keep in mind structured time doesn’t have to be boring. Day camp or time playing outside with friends counts as “structured” in the summer, especially as social skills need to be maintained too.

Children playing tug of war.

Build Ways To Keep Skills Sharp

There are a lot of ways skills can be kept sharp around the house. For example, to keep up math skills, have kids develop “budgets” for their allowance or the screen time you allot them. Use cooking to explore the science behind everyday life, pointing out why cookies get crisp or why meat gets brown. You can also find games to play that encourage using different skill sets, such as science, math, and language themed board games.

Use Your Community Resources

During the summer, communities often step up to help harried parents out. Opportunities can range from events at the local public spaces to extended hours in public places for people to come in, cool off, and do something fun. Local libraries, in particular, tend to run events for kids and parents, offering both educational opportunities and child care. It’ll both give them something new to learn, and keep them from using their screens.

Use Screens Educationally

Finally, there are ways to use screens to help kids hone their various forms of knowledge, or get caught up if they struggled in a subject before. Educational games, online tutorials, and other apps can help. Consider creating a rule where in order to earn time goofing around, kids should spend twice as much using educational content, enforced with parental control apps.

Summer is always going to be complicated for busy families, but parental control apps can take the complaining out of the day and help keep children on the road to educational achievement. To learn more, try Screen Time for free!

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