With the school year ending, parents have been thinking about summer plans and trying to make some important decisions. There are still many questions about what the next phase of our lives will look like post-pandemic. Parents might be struggling with plans due to balancing work, vacations, and maybe even playing catch up on academics for children due to COVID. Whatever you decide for your summer’s future, I would encourage you to contemplate what the good takeaways from COVID might have been and continue those traditions.
Maybe you spent more time taking walks or hiking with your kids. Perhaps you had more sit-down dinners or you took up a new sport or hobby with your child. As tough as living through a pandemic has been, there have been some positive aspects for many of us, so I challenge you to continue some of these new traditions and continue spending quality time with your family. Kids need structure and routine, but they also need time to be creative and use their imaginations (sorry, Tik Tok doesn’t qualify here). It’s a great time for kids and teens to begin socializing again safely, to try something new, to volunteer or get a job, and to just have fun being a kid! Need some ideas and inspiration on summer fun? Check out some ideas here!
One question I often get from parents about technology: “How much time should my child be spending on the phone, computer, iPad, video games, etc.?”
One of the biggest battles parents have had during COVID is managing technology. I have two words on this subject – SCREEN TIME. This may have been more challenging to manage during the school year for those doing online school and completing homework on devices, but kids and teens should not have unlimited access to technology. If you aren’t sure how to set up screen time, do a quick Google search based on your device. Not everyone agrees on the exact time limit recommendation for kids and teens, but my recommendation is to try to keep devices at under two hours daily. More importantly, children should be encouraged to get proper amounts of exercise, sleep, and socialization and for the whole family to take periodic breaks from devices.
Keep in mind that time AND content should be limited. This is not about putting trust in your kids. Kids and teens are naturally curious, and it is our responsibility as parents to protect them from the dangers of the internet. Let’s face it, adults could also stand to have some restrictions at times too. We were created for relationships, so show your kids how to get out there and make some new friends!
Written by: Brigette Elgie, MFT