With Summer in full-swing, kids are finding more time on their hands and are looking for ways to occupy that newfound time As soon as boredom hits, kids often turn to electronic devices (e.g. cell phones, tablets, computers, gaming devices and television screens) as a quick, easy solution for entertainment. What is the right balance of electronic devices for the summer?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has the following recommendations:
- <18 months: Avoid using electronics/screen media other than video chatting. Video chatting could help with language development.
- 18-24 months: Parents/Guardians should limit electronics/screen media, choose high-quality entertainment and watch it with them.
- 2-5 years: Limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality entertainment. Parents should also watch the screens with their kids.
- 6 and up: Parents/Guardians should have consistent time limits spent on electronics/screen media. It should not take the place of physical activity, healthy behaviors or adequate sleep.
- Parents should also designate media-free times (such as meals, driving, during game-night) and media-free locations in the home (such as dining areas, bedrooms, bathrooms).
In our household, we have limited most of our kids ’ (ages 2 and 4) “screen time” to Family Movie Night or the occasional educational shows. It may seem hard to reduce screen time at first or find a balance, but once you get in the habit of it, it becomes easier. Families may consider working together to , limits and expectations based on what they think is reasonable for them. Parents should also set the example and limit their own time with electronics. An article printed by US News suggests that, “Multiple studies have shown that as parents increase their screen time (whether it be smart phones, TV, computers, video games), their children do the same. Our children are constantly learning from us and following in our footsteps.”
When kids are bored and have exceeded their electronic device usage for the day, try offering them an alternative . For example, consider the following activities:
- Doing a household chore
- Going to a playground
- Reading a book
- Playing a card or board game
- Riding a bike
- Jumping in the sprinkler
- Learning/developing a new skill (cooking, baking, sewing, ironing, laundry)
- Building something new out of recyclables
- Doing service for a neighbor
- Spending time with grandparents
- Spending time with friends
- Playing an outside game
- Doing a fun science experiment
Finding the right balance of electronic devices during the summer, can help create a healthier and happier summer.
What are some of your tips that help you and your family find the right balance with electronics?
About the Author –
Sandra Meaders works on raising two children, managing a blog and doing freelance editing on the side.