Wow, yet another school year over, ready for summer break? If you are lucky enough to have vacation plans or are heading to the cottage, keeping the kids busy should be a cinch. Unfortunately, you may face heading to work most days or enjoying a “staycation” in which case, keeping your kids busy can pose a challenge.
Funnily enough, it has become easier than ever to have them entertain themselves, “play a video game, watch a movie, text a friend”….unfortunately all the new technologies, while a treat for babysitting, come with their own set of challenges. So what are good guidelines for screen time and how do you enforce them without a power struggle this summer?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, school age children should have no more than two hours of screen time per day, while preschoolers should be limited to less than one. Of course, if you are heading to the office in the morning and leaving your children alone or in the care of a sitter, this can be easier said than done.
Generally, experts agree that you should set consistent guidelines and explain these to your children up front. Nothing derails a plan more than inconsistency. It becomes difficult to say why they will only be allowed two hours today when they had six yesterday. If possible, involve your sitter in the plan, but if your kids will be unattended or you are not sure the sitter is mature enough to enforce such guidelines, you may choose one of the technological options such as Luma to curb extra access.
Additionally, ensure that there are other activities planned as an alternative to screen time. These don’t always have to be all fun either. Perhaps you make an agreement that they need to wash the dishes and read two chapters before they are able to access their screen of choice. Of course, fun time is also important.
So be prepared this summer and agree to set up healthy guidelines to keep everyone happy.
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