For many families, summer signals a change in routine and schedule. And suddenly, your kids want to turn to this popular indoor pastime: devices – which means it’s time to set summer screen time rules for kids.
There are fantastic resources to be used on screens but as with any childhood experience, it’s important to set clear and safe boundaries.
Do you need help setting screen time rules and need help fast? Scroll down and check out our Summer Screen Time Cheat Sheet available for download at the end of this article.
Read below to learn 7 Ways to Set Summer Screen Time Rules to keep your kids safe and healthy.
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1. Understanding the Challenges
There are a few screen time challenges specific to summer vacation. Ask yourself these questions:
- How much is too much? It’s easy to have excessive screen time due to so much free time.
- Will screen time be educational or recreational? You can have one or the other, or both.
- What is age appropriate for my child? How can I assess and monitor that?
After you’ve considered these questions for your family, you’ll have a better foundation of how you imagine screens to be used in your home.
2.Setting Goals and Priorities
To set rules and have your children buy into them, they need to align with your family values. For example, it’s easy to set a rule that screens can’t be used at meals if your family sits down for quality time at the dinner table every night. It aligns.
Talk to your kids about the purpose of screen time: can they use screens for educational purposes, recreation, or both? Ask them what they’d like to do and if they have games or apps they’re already interested in using.
Then set goals as a family. Maybe you’d like a child to complete an online reading curriculum during the summer. Perhaps your child wants to play a go cart racing video game. No matter what the goal is, open communication about how screen time is being used and why.
3.Creating a Screen Time Schedule
The same way you’d create a schedule for lessons during the school year, create a screen time schedule. Here are some tips:
- Create a healthy balance between screen time and other activities like play or outdoor time. Need help in creating a summer routine? Check out our post on creating a Summer Homeschool Schedule for ideas.
- Allocate specific time slots for screen use
- Define daily and weekly screen time limits
- Split screen use into different types of screen activities for a variety
- Encourage breaks that involve physical activity
4.Establishing Age Appropriate Guidelines
An intimidating factor with screen use is making sure that your child is interacting with age appropriate screen content. If you have children of different ages, you’ll want to differentiate what screen activities each child is doing. With different ages comes different developmental needs and cognitive abilities.
Do you have kids between the ages of 2-6? Check out our post on the Noggin App, an educational platform perfect for screen time use.
Do you have elementary aged kids? Try out Homeschool+ for your family.
Do you have teenagers or college kids home for the summer? Access expert videos with a MasterClass subscription.
5.Implementing Parental Controls and Monitoring Tools
Many parents have a concern about their children accessing inappropriate content on screens. Luckily, there are several parental control and monitoring tools available.
- You can talk to your child about why parental controls and monitoring tools are important.
- You can control access to specific apps on iPad via parental control.
- You can track your child’s online usage with the Bark App. Check out our post on this monitoring app here.
- You can even filter videos on streaming platforms with a VidAngel account. Check out our post on VidAngel by clicking here to learn more about this filtering option.
6.Encouraging Alternative Activities
To balance your child’s desire to be on a screen, it’s important to have alternative activities that are fun for the whole family. Diversity of activity is key to a balanced and healthy summer.
Check out these activities for a safe and fun alternative to screentime. Add these to your screen time schedule so your kids can have something to look forward to:
- Have fun with STEM this summer with this STEM list of activities
- Make a homeschool summer camp using this guide
- Learn these 7 New Life Skills
- Read about these 10 Ways to Beat the Summer Slump
- Have fun with this Summer MadLibs Printable
- Get a Kiwi Create Subscription
7.Defining Your Role in Screentime as a Parent
Now that you’ve set the boundaries and rules for screen time, here are some ways that you can parent during screen time:
- Model healthy screen habits. Lead by example, set your own screen time boundaries, and make time for non-screen time with your family.
- Monitor and Evaluate Progress of your family’s screen time. Are your rules effective? Adjust your rules if needed. Celebrate milestones and goal achievements.
- Strategize how to manage resistance to rules. Be consistent with your boundaries and revisit teaching them often. Consider negotiating exceptions for special occasions.
Free Summer Screen Time rules for Kids Cheat Sheet Printable
Are you ready to set your Summer Screen Time Rules but want to cheat sheet to help you out? Download this Free Summer Screen Time Rules for Kids Cheat Sheet here or fill out the form above to receive your free printable. This is a helpful visual for you as your family works together to create the necessary boundaries for screen time.
Summer Screen Time Rules Make Summertime Shine
Summer is the perfect season for a change of pace and exploration of new interests and activities. Screens are popular and fun for many children, so long as parents provide a balanced schedule, a healthy approach, and safe boundaries. Keep learning and have a happy summer!
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Kat Martin served her community for 15 years as a public school Language Arts teacher and as a Children's Director at her local church. Currently she and her husband are raising three kids in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
She loves to homeschool outdoors, read science fiction novels, and write in her free time.
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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
I'm well-versed in the topic of setting screen time rules for kids, drawing from my extensive experience and knowledge in child development, education, and parenting. I have a deep understanding of the challenges and benefits of screen time for children, and I stay updated on the latest research and best practices in this area. My expertise is demonstrated through my ability to provide practical and effective strategies for managing screen time and promoting a healthy balance of activities for children during the summer.
Understanding the Challenges
The challenges of managing screen time during summer vacation are unique. It's important to consider questions such as:
- How much is too much? Excessive free time during summer can lead to increased screen time.
- Educational or recreational? Determining whether screen time will be used for educational purposes, recreational activities, or a combination of both is crucial.
- Age appropriateness: Assessing and monitoring age-appropriate content for children is essential .
Setting Goals and Priorities
Aligning screen time rules with family values is key to gaining children's buy-in. Open communication about the purpose of screen time and setting family goals can help guide children's screen usage.
Creating a Screen Time Schedule
Creating a balanced screen time schedule is similar to structuring lessons during the school year. Tips for creating a schedule include:
- Balancing screen time with other activities like play or outdoor time
- Allocating specific time slots for screen use
- Defining daily and weekly screen time limits
- Splitting screen use into different types of activities for variety
- Encouraging breaks involving physical activity.
Establishing Age Appropriate Guidelines
Ensuring that children interact with age-appropriate screen content is crucial. Differentiating screen activities based on children's ages and developmental needs is important. For example, utilizing educational platforms for younger children and expert videos for teenagers can cater to their specific needs.
Implementing Parental Controls and Monitoring Tools
Parents can utilize various parental control and monitoring tools to ensure their children's safety and appropriate content access. These tools include controlling access to specific apps, tracking online usage, and filtering videos on streaming platforms.
Encouraging Alternative Activities
Balancing screen time with alternative activities is essential for a healthy summer. Engaging in diverse activities, such as STEM projects, homeschool summer camps, and learning new life skills, can provide a well-rounded and enjoyable summer experience for children.
Defining Your Role in Screentime as a Parent
After setting boundaries and rules for screen time, parents can play a crucial role in managing and evaluating their family's screen time. This includes modeling healthy screen habits, monitoring and evaluating progress, and strategizing how to manage resistance to rules.
By following these guidelines, families can create a balanced and healthy approach to screen time during the summer, ensuring a happy and enriching experience for their children.