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Use extra screen time this summer as an opportunity to connect and teach awareness
Has your child been getting more screen time than usual this past year? Considering the plight of parents over the last year and half, extra screen time is totally understandable! Kids’ extra screen time is critical to parental survival. Most of our kids will be just fine if they spend a bit too much time in front of a screen. We can correct this in the fall when things return to normal.
In the meantime, here are two easy things you can do this summer to turn extra screen time into an opportunity for learning.
Connect with your kid around their screen time
This may seem counterintuitive as our knee jerk reaction is to criticize the extra screen time. That criticism, however, drives a wedge between you and your child. This is how screen time can easily become an area of contention in your home.
Instead, surprise your child by taking an interest in what they are doing online. Tell them daily that you hope they enjoy their time online. You may say,
“Hey love, tell me about that game you're playing. It looks fun!”
“Go watch your Netflix shows and enjoy them!”
Can you imagine your child’s jaw dropping? With this approach, you and your child stay connected. They see that you don’t judge them for liking to be online and your child may feel more safe opening up to you about their online lives. Then in the fall, you can take the stance that you aren’t anti-screen time in general, you just need to help them cut back to keep it in balance with the rest of their lives.
Screen time mind, body, soul check-ins
Screen time can negatively affect mind, body and soul but can be so consuming that kids (and adults) don’t notice these impacts. A quick and simple check in during or after screen time can help your child begin to notice how screen time is affecting them, and take action to take care of themselves. You may say,
“Hey, how does your body feel after that hour of gaming?”
“You have been chatting with your friends for a while, how do you feel?”
At first your child will reply FINE each and every time, but if they see that you’re sincerely interested and not just asking to pounce and take their device away, they will become more curious and actually check in with themselves. Focus on helping them take care of their well-being while online. For example, help them find the right posture for gaming, take breaks if a group chat becomes hurtful, figure out shows that they truly enjoy. This simple inquiry turns extra screen time into an opportunity for your child to learn to stay connected to themselves while online, a critical life skill in the 21st Century!
Extra screen time does not need to be a disaster or a source of guilt for parents. Instead, use it as an opportunity for learning and connection. Fall is just around the corner.
Navigating screen time with children is tough for most parents. If you need some extra help setting up an effective plan and/or teaching your child the skills needed for healthy and responsible screen time, we invite you to learn more about our program. We got you covered!
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About Beyond Limits Academy
Beyond Limits is a simple step-by-step online program that teaches parents and preteens how to prepare for a lifetime of safe and healthy technology use. Going beyond just screen time limits, our skills-based approach provides a clear roadmap that reduces conflict and sets children up to manage their own tech use independently and responsibly. In an increasingly digital world, preparing our children to use technology wisely is no longer an option . . . it's a necessity.
End the constant screen time battles, we'll show you how!