Set A Good Example
Kids model the behavior they see from parents, so ask yourself if you’re getting outside enough. As it warms up, consider walking to the store or riding a bike over, and bringing the kids along. Instead of reading your book inside, go out on the lawn or on your porch and take in a little sun.
Shift Their Schedules
During the winter, you might have loosened up the rules for game consoles and tablets with the understanding that once the birds sing, those restrictions would tighten back up. Especially with summer break coming up for a lot of kids, it’s a good time to sit them down and discuss new schedules for using devices. Homework time shouldn’t become goofing off time, for example. You might also set standards such as device time is paired to chore time, and enforce that with software locks.
Go Outside On Weekends
Another tried and true parental technique is making them leave the phones behind and come with you also works. It can be as elaborate as a spring camping trip or an outing to a local museum, or as simple as heading over to the park for a few hours. You might also consider embarking on a family project like building some outdoor play spaces or knocking together a treehouse. But as long as it’s outdoors, and kids have something to engage in, even if it’s just a hiking trail, it’ll remind them how fun it is to be outside.
Older kids especially should be looking at volunteer opportunities, not least because it looks good on college resumes. But it also ensures a broader perspective on the world. Look for family volunteer opportunities that get you out of the house, such as cooking meals for a soup kitchen, helping to maintain public spaces, working at your local library, and otherwise bolstering the community. It both gets kids out of the houses and gets them thinking about how lucky they are to have those devices.
Have A Friend Over
Sometimes, the best thing to do to limit screen time is to have a friend over. Set rules, of course; kids shouldn’t be running with their friends right to a game console. Friends should only be over to do something outside. And during the school week, any spontaneous visits should be cleared with parents and schedules should be in place; if your children and their friends have homework, they should be expected to finish that up before they run outside.
Remember that communication is key. Make sure kids understand why you’re making these rules, and what you’re looking for them to get out of this. And if you need a little help ensuring they stick to the rules, we can help with parental control apps. Click here to learn more about Screen Time.