If you’re not sure what’s best for your children when it comes to screen time, you’ve come to the right place. As part of our Family Monster Project, we’ve come up with a handful of quick and practical tips on how to make screen time another simple part of summer fun with your family.
The summer holidays are finally here – with long days, trips to museums, grass-stained clothes and ice creams… oh and lots of extra spare time to watch TV and play online games! If you’re confused about how much screen time your children should have – or just worry about the unfavourable glare from others, as your children sit looking at a screen while you enjoy that rare moment to yourself – you’re not alone. It’s a concern most parents and carers have, especially during school holidays.
“We’re not strict but certainly set boundaries,” explains Poppy’s Mum*. “When Poppy goes to either set of Grandparents, they have the TV on all the time and we don’t like it. At home, we don’t have it on unless it’s to watch an episode of something, or she’s just got up and we’re watching it together.”
“It’s more about setting boundaries around length and type of use.”
Another of our parents echoed similar advice:
“We were concerned in case it made him lazy or stunted in terms of his learning and development; if he was exposed to it too much,” adds Josh’s Dad*. “So for us, it’s not about making out it’s bad because I don’t really think it is. It’s more about setting boundaries around length and type of use.”
Instead of losing sleep over how many minutes each day your children are seemingly glued to their screens, follow our simple tips below and you’ll soon be making screen time a healthy activity for the whole family.
- Make sure what your children are watching, playing or reading is high-quality, age-appropriate and safe.
- Join in and make sure it’s a sociable activity. Can you watch something as a family or play a game together?
- Set some realistic boundaries for your children – and make sure you stick to them!
- Balance screen time with other activities, planning your day so there’s plenty of variety in what you all do, alone or together.
- See what free games you can find online (or on your phone/tablet) that your child will enjoy playing but will also help their development. (Be sure to read reviews before downloading.)
- Remember that every child, age group and family is different, so find out what works best for you.
Top Tip: everything in moderation!
*Names have been changed.
How do you feel about screen time? Let us know your thoughts and tips on social media using the hashtag #MyFamilyMonsters. For more ideas and suggestions, check out our summer holidays tips on the Family Monsters website.