Summer is just a few weeks away and we know that for many of our families that means slower days, less structure and a lot more downtime. We also know that for many of our kids, an easy go-to activity involves screens and screentime. While there’s nothing wrong with some screentime we want to make sure our kids are also making the most of the summer weather and spending lots of time outside!
- Relieves stress & lowers anxiety
- Provides healthy doses of Vitamin D (even with that important sunscreen)
- Creates lots of opportunity for social interaction
- Allows for exploration and creative play
And lots, lots more!
At Beyond Speech, we know the benefits of an active and engaging lifestyle for children and we also understand that it can be hard at times to get the kids to put the tablets down.
To help manage the summer months and screentime, we’ve put together 7 ways to encourage outdoor play while also limiting screentime overall.
And we also want to remember that, like most things, it’s all about balance!
1. Set Clear Summer Screen Expectations
If the expectation is clear, the outcome is easier.
Before school’s out, and as you’re making summer plans, set clear expectations with your kids regarding screen time and outdoor play. Talk about the importance of spending time outside and create some rules for screen usage.
This clear communication and boundaries will help your children understand and plan for summer activities without screens.
2. Plan Summer Adventures Now!
Before summer really kicks off, sit down and create a list of outdoor activities and adventures you’d like to experience.
Knowing ahead of time what’s coming up gives kids something to look forward to and creates lots of excitement. Plan outings to local parks, beaches, or nature trails and try new things like camping, trail hiking or water sports.
Engaging in these planned adventures will provide some needed structure and added excitement, making outdoor play more appealing than tablets!
3. Make Everyday Outdoor Play So Fun!
Make everyday outdoor play more exciting than screens this summer!
There are so many activities and outdoor toys that can turn your own backyard into an adventure – create obstacle courses, organize a family sports day or plan a neighborhood scavenger hunt.
You can also start the summer by having your child choose a new toy or activity they would like to get really good at before school starts! Maybe they want to learn to juggle or throw a frisbee or create tie dye t-shirts. Take a pre-summer shopping trip to get them set to become masters of a new skill!
4. Create Tech-Free Zones and Times For The Summer
While you are creating expectations around screentime for the summer, designating certain areas in your home and specific times of the day as tech-free zones.
For example, make the bedrooms or dining areas screen-free areas and set dedicated screen-free hours during the week. By creating these boundaries, you encourage a wider variety of activities and more time for outdoor play!
5. Fill Up The Social Calendar
Summer fun is always more fun with friends! Before summer hits, spend some time planning play dates, day trips and other outdoor activities with friends.
Create an outdoor space where kids can come and play and encourage your kids to invite friends over. Not only is this a fun way to get kids outside and active but it’s excellent for developing social skills and interpersonal communication.
6. Be The Example
We know that kids mimic the behavior that they see. Be a positive role model by taking screen breaks too throughout the day and heading outside.
Show your kids how much fun it is to be in nature, explore, play and try new activities. By being the example, you’re teaching the importance of active, outdoor time and encouraging positive, lifelong habits!
Summer is the perfect time to start limiting screen time and encouraging more active, outdoor play!
While it may be a challenge for some kids to put down the devices, there are ways that we as parents can help! By setting clear expectations, planning outdoor adventures, being a positive role model and creating tech-free zones and times, you can motivate your kids to embrace the joys of outdoor play.
This summer, let’s prioritize outdoor adventures, foster family connections, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime!
If you need any support or want to learn more about the services we offer at Beyond Speech Therapy Specialists, reach out to us at (779) 435 – 0724 or contact us here!