It's Summer Time, Not Screen Time
Now more than ever, parents are looking for ways to entertain their kids without the use of a screen. For several years this growing trend has helped the Mighty community get a lot younger 😁. For many parents, myself included (my twins are pictured above) summer break brings a new twist to the screen free entertainment quest.
Every home situation is different, but if you want to reduce the amount of screen time your kids have this summer, here are a couple things that work in our home:
- Daily schedule: Kids like predictability and knowing what comes next. They have that predictability in school but in summer they get "I've got a call in x min... can you find something to do outside?" With an hour by hour schedule they will know what comes next and even when you are not available.
Friend/Family Camps: If you're reading this, you're probably a parent and if you're a parent you have for sure heard about the zillions of different summer camp options in your area. Day camps, overnight camps, sports camps, art camps, camps about camps, so many camps. As nice as camps are, the reality is that camps are $$$ and a challenge when it comes to scheduling. Those are two factors that many parents might not be able to wrangle. As an alternative to some of these camps, you might consider getting together with friends and family to create a week of friend/family camp where a different adult takes the kids each day. The adults can make it fun by planning something special and at the end of the week the kids decide who's camp day was the best.
Toy and Book Swap: New toys and books are always great, especially when you don't have to buy them or store them. Find some friends with kids and do a weekly toy and book swap. If each family has a bin of books and toys that get passed around, it makes sharing easy. Expand the swap to several families and you'll buy even more entertainment time.
Library: The local library is a great resource for new reading material. Try to make reading fun by doing reading contests for small rewards. Let the kids read what they want - even if graphic novels aren't your fav. Get them excited about reading and it will be something they can build on in the future.
- Music, Podcasts, and Audiobooks: The variety and breadth of music and audio entertainment has never been larger. If you are a Spotify user, you have access to one of the largest audio libraries in the world. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut with music and podcasts so here are some ideas:
- Creating a "name it and claim it" playlist for the kids in Spotify. They listen on their own, study up and then we have a name it and claim it contest as a family.
- Explore a kid friendly podcast together and then have them listen to the next episode and report back to you about what they learned.
- Find a soundtrack to a movie they like and turn them loose to listening while drawing or painting.
- If you want the kids to have access to your Spotify curated content without a screen, Mighty is a perfect option. Sync your playlists and podcasts to your Mighty, and off they go.
There are loads of other good resources out there to help reduce the amount of screen time we have as well as understand the impact screen time is having on adults and children. Learn as much as you can, ask your doctors about screen time, and share what you learn with your friends and family.
To be clear, screens and technology are helpful parts of our lives. The trick is finding the balance between leveraging them as helpful tools vs allowing them to be a distraction. Finding that balance is not easy. We get it. Know that there are tens of thousands of people like you trying to be mighty and create more intentional time away from screens.