Summer is coming! Can you believe we are at that stage of the year now? For many of you who follow our weekly blog, it must be nice to go from the transition of the beginning of the school year, Christmas, Easter and now finally Summer. Although the thought of summer is exciting it can come with a lot of apprehensions. Parents can often be left wondering what will happen concerning child care, the guilt of kids spending more time alone and wanting to spend time with them. For a lot of parents, there is the concern of increased screen time. With less control over devices and kids being ‘left to their own devices more’, we’ve put together a list of ways we can help protect kids’ digital wellbeing over the summer months.
Talk openly with your child about their online activity
For working parents more than likely younger children will be looked after by a friend, or family member or be in childcare. Likely their online activities and screen times will be monitored by these trusted adults. Don’t be afraid to make your wishes and home rules known to these carers. The same rules in your house should apply across the board. Your rules will be respected and followed once your child’s carer is made aware. After all, if they don’t know, they won’t know.
Older children and pre-teens, already know what is expected of them. However, I wouldn’t shy away from reiterating the rules and what you expect of them while you’re away. Screen time will inevitably increase during the summer but once they don’t get too carried away, all will be well.
Devices are still under your control
Don’t forget that although you may be at work, you are still in control of your devices. Perhaps keep the same approach as you would when your kids are in school. No phones or other devices when during the day and the same time limit when you are home and able to monitor them yourself. Older children may need their phones more during the day in case they need you or to just send you updates or check-in. This is a good time to test the waters as to their online maturity.
Make use of summer camps. What a great distraction from the online world. Especially for younger children, it’s another way to tap into their creativity and social skills. The best thing about summer camps is that they are so versatile. Your child can partake in activities that they already enjoy or explore a new one. From physical activity to arts and crafts there are plenty to choose from at all times of the summer to keep your children occupied.
Prioritise the outdoors
We are 100% all guilty of sitting down on our phones and losing a few hours of our lives, so the same can for sure be said for children. We are aware of how addictive screens can be. Now, we are not saying that playing outside should be treated as homework, however, it might be a great, similar approach to take if your child would rather stay indoors and it’s a struggle to get them to go outside. In this case try, ‘you can use your device in the evening once you’ve spent some time outside'.
Loosen the reigns as a reward
As a parent, we will always worry about your child’s digital wellbeing. We will never stop worrying about them both in the real and the online world. Chances are if you are reading this blog, you have already laid a great foundation for your child’s digital wellbeing. Reward yourself and your children by loosening the reigns slightly over the summer months. Acknowledgement of good behaviour goes a long way, especially when it comes to sliding back into the school routine in September.