Counting down to summer vacation is rite of passage when you are a kid. Summer is a time when your children can step away from their school desks, take a break from studying and don’t have to think about homework. But instead of running outside, kids instinctively turn to their screens. Screens don’t have to be a bad thing, but they do have to be moderated.
Turning To Screens
The hardest part about limiting screen time for children is that many parents count on screens to give themselves a well-needed break. Sometimes making dinner can be impossible without the kids being distracted by a screen. As much as kids love the summer break, many parents find themselves extremely stressed by the more relaxed schedule. Checking in with other moms to see how they’re coping definitely helps navigate this vacation time. Try websites like www.mommyauthority.com for a place to get helpful advice and information about the challenges we all face as mothers.
So, whether you’re running Camp Mommy, going on a family vacation or leaving your kids at home while you work, here are great ideas to keep your kids from becoming screen-zombies.
1. Discuss It With Your Kids
Set the expectation with your kids and come to a decision about how much screen time you will allow. While they may think that in the summer all rules are off, explain to them how technology can be both positive and negative and why it’s important not to overexpose their brains to it.
2. Give Them Chores
During the school year there are so many tests and reports to do, as well as extra-curricular activities, that finding spare time to enforce chores often falls by the wayside. It has been found that giving kids the responsibility of chores helps them develop into successful adults. While this may not convince your kids, there are ways to get them to help around the house without rolling their eyes.
- Giving them a choice - Some kids love doing dishes while others enjoy folding. Let each kid decide which chore they want to tackle.
- Make a checklist - Checking off a task after completing it is so satisfying. If they are artistic, they may even want to make their own checklist.
- Give them creative control - Let them decide how they want to arrange their clothing or organize the playroom. Some parents find it hard to give up control, but kids relish the chance to put their own mark on the home.
- Turn it into an obstacle course - Do free throws for dirty clothing into their laundry baskets or time how long it takes to load the dishwasher. Have your kids come up with more of these types of ideas.
3. Meal Plan
It is so frustrating when your kids won’t eat the meal you’ve made. Instead, have them read through cookbooks (or even just look at the photos) to come up with a meal plan for the week. Knowing that every child will have at least one meal that they picked, will ensure that at least they’re not eating cereal every day.
4. Go To The Park
Whether your kids are big or little, the simple pleasure of swinging on a park swing can be enjoyed by all. Enjoy the longer summer days by hanging out in a park without having to rush anywhere.
5. Employ A Mother’s Helper
If you don’t have any older children, pay a local teen to help you out. Younger teens won’t charge a lot of money and will be a great distraction for your children so you can actually get things done.
6. Car Games
Instead of plugging your kids into their screens, play car games to keep them from getting restless. Let everyone choose a different game, like:
- Twenty questions
Think back to your favorite ways of spending your summer vacations. Even with all the technology available, don’t underestimate the small pleasures that can be found with old-school activities. Enjoy passing them down to your kids for a happy and healthy summer vacation.