Creating a (Mostly) Screen-Free Summer for Your Family

In Parenting by AmyLeave a Comment

Summer is upon us, which can mean total-media-overload for many children. But fear not: your children do not have to turn into #screentimezombies before their backpacks have even hit the floor!

  • Does your child have a tablet?
  • Can your 3rd grader navigate Netflix like a pro?
  • Do your teens rarely glance up from their phones once they’re home from school?
  • Are Fortnight dance moves a daily source of entertainment in your home?

Setting common-sense, age-appropriate media guidelines in your home can be a challenge, especially when school’s out, but it’s important to do so for the overall well-being of your family. Spending too much time in front of a screen isn’t healthy for anyone, but especially for children whose brains are still developing at a rapid pace. Excessive screen use has even been linked to obesity, impaired cognitive function, and poor emotional intelligence. So what’s a modern family to do?

Boundaries and Balance

When it comes to your child’s mental and emotional well-being, it’s all about balance. I think we can all agree that too much screen time is bad, but screens and technology are an essential part of everyday life for all of us now. Boundaries and balance around screen time is the key.

When starting to set screen time limits in your home, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is a reasonable amount of daily screen time for my child’s age?
  • Quality is just as important as quantity: what types of content can your child access?
  • Will the weekday look different than the weekends?
  • What does your child need to do before they log on (homework, reading, chores, outside play etc.)?
  • What types of content (such as games, shows, apps, etc.) are off-limits, and how do you implement those boundaries?

Here are some ideas for making screen-time your child’s last pick for summer entertainment:

Opt Outside

Kick it like it’s 1985 and toss your children outside for the afternoon with nothing more than some sunblock and the garden hose. (Ok, maybe not exactly like 1985.) Summertime was made for running, hiking, biking, scooting, sports, exploring, swimming, and splashing.

  • Put a $7 slip-&-slide on the lawn and keep your kids entertained and active for hours.
  • Consider joining a chapter of Free Forest School in your area.
  • Turn on the sprinklers and let the kids run wild.
  • Become an expert on your neighborhood’s shadiest, most lovely parks.

Local outdoor activities and parks near BCS:

  1. Williams Park: Large playground, splash pad, paved walking trail, trails in woods
  2. Arbuckle Acres Park: Playground, shelters for events and picnics, trails in woods
  3. Northwest Community Park: Large playground, trails to walk, disc golf course, fishing pond, community garden
  4. Brownsburg Farmers Market: Every Thursday, June 6th through September 5th from 4 pm – 7 pm

Read, Read, Read!

When school is out, it’s the perfect time for your family to read purely for fun. Hit up your local library and allow your kids (and yourself) to check out mountains of books that strike their fancy. Set aside a block of time for independent reading every day, and perhaps even start a family read-aloud ritual this summer!

No matter how old your children are, reading aloud together is beneficial and fun for everyone.

BCS Can Help

The great news is that we can make a positive difference by helping our children set boundaries for themselves. At Bethesda Christian Schools, we are proud of our exceptional and unique campus culture. In an epidemic of loneliness, we have taken action to implement policies and create spaces that encourage healthy, face-to-face interactions and genuine friendships between students at every grade level. Our Commons area has a student-run coffee shop and tables stocked with board games (we’re amazed at how quickly students preferred it to being on their phones or tablets during their free time!).

We’ve created a FREE resource for you to utilize with your family: The Summer Screen-Time Checklist printable. We hope this resource is both helpful and fun as your family puts up healthy boundaries around media use while school’s out and beyond.

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