- Samira Sine
Planning weekend activities is a great way to reduce screen time!
Let's face it, our kids live in a digital universe, from school to social interaction to entertainment. Tech rules many aspects of our child's life, and while we try to create boundaries which result in arguments and tears, there are gentler ways to bring balance to the weekends.
With the new year, Just For The Children's guidelines can help you set up a happier, calmer, more active weekend.
1. Set your family limits!
You are the parent and your child will follow your example. So put down your own screens, and then help limit your child's time with tech. Some tech is ok, as long as it is age-appropriate, but it's the New Year, so teach your child how to set some New Year's resolutions, and add fresh, interesting new activities to their weekends, which will slowly reduce screen time.
Baking, taking a walk with friends, putting away the holiday ornaments or cards are a few easy ways to cut into screen time. Always remember to be engaged with your child. If you are distracted or half-invested, they will know immediately.
2. Pick up the local events guide for kids!
Most cities have guides and even small towns. Movies are a good idea, keeping health guidelines in mind. Movie night at home with popcorn and pjs are a great way to bond on a cold Saturday night. If your kids are vaccinated and safe, check out the local movie theaters. Watching a movie together, followed by a family meal will yield rewards well into the future. Children can be engaged in helping to shop, plan and create meals.
3. Plan More Activities
It's much simpler to allow your kids to stay on their screens all weekend, especially if you are experiencing a cold winter. But a walk in the park with their friends, or arts and crafts hour, where the entire family creates a work of art with paints and easels or bracelets, generic home made Thank You cards etc can be fun! Even winter weather can be fun. If it has snowed recently, dress your kids up warmly and enjoy some winter fun!
4. Allow kids of all ages to have agency over their weekend.
Kids want to have some independence and choice so give them options. This includes asking them what time is best for them to use their screens. Plan your own weekend screen time around theirs. Try to be in the same room as they are. Conversation will occur naturally, and there is value to being in the same room as your child.
5. Using tools and apps to limit screen time
There are tools for parents to limit screen time right on their devices. Look up how to manage it on the web. There's very little that isn't available and knowing how to limit your child's screen time isn't a bad idea, especially if you have a child who is less likely to listen to your limits and ideas. Programs like ScreenTime are a huge help!