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Managing Screen Time Over School Break

Managing Screen Time Over School Break

Any school break is also known as the Screens Tsunami. However, whether you’re on a packed plane trying to keep your toddler from having a meltdown or a working mom stuck inside with three kids during the hot hours of the day, screens might come across as a necessity — especially during the holidays when you’re bracing for two weeks of no school.

But what do you do if one hour-long video session leads to another … and another. Leaving you drained from facing one tantrum over the other each time you try to get a child to disconnect? This happens because toddlers can’t tell the difference between animation and reality. Therefore being overstimulated to form some sort of addiction. The quality of what they are being exposed to is critical at this age.

The urge to monitor screen time is greater than ever!

With the rise of violent and inappropriate content on YouTube, Netflix, and video games. Combined with a super tech-savvy generation, pediatricians and schools were desperately urging parents to monitor screen time. Parents should only allow screen time for kids over 6 years of age after their daily duties. Such as homework, physical activity, and free play with friends are met. The AAP issued a statement advising parents to be aware of the nature of their kids’ electronic games. As it can negatively affect their learning ability, social skills, and perception of others. The academy supports face-to-face screen interaction such as Zoom with friends and family as beneficial for brain development. The more we interact, talk and read to infants and toddlers. The better it is for their cognitive and social skills, even if it’s over zoom. 

As mothers, monitoring our toddler’s screen interaction is easier. Well, relatively more direct – than doing so with an opinionated middle schooler. Especially over school break and going through immense peer pressure. 

We’ve added a few practical recommendations below. Keeping in mind that there are no perfect parenting days. Although on some, we may be well composed on overscheduled days. We tend to let things slide a bit, and that’s only normal.

 So, how to manage screen time during school break? 

  1. Avoid handing them willingly their screens. Instead, engage them in an activity or a simple conversation. Whether you are working from home or a full-time working mom. Involve your children in your daily activities. Take this opportunity to discuss the activities they would like to do throughout the day. Leaving out screens as the last option.
  2. For little children, have a few toys ready for them to enjoy right after breakfast. While you follow up on work. If you have a nanny to help, it’ll be best to fill her in on your child’s schedule. Along with the expectations the night before. 
  3. Avoid TVs in Bedrooms. Put all your monitors – computers, tablets, and TV in the family area for everyone to share. It’s a way for you or your nanny to keep a discrete eye on the games they play. Also on the videos they view.
  4. Schedule family Off-Screen time. Set a time where screen time is switched off for all family members, mealtime, bedtime or grandparents’ visits.
  5. Explain your family values. This helps children understand why the rules may differ for their friends or relatives. You can even go into the dangers of screen time & social media based on your child’s age.
  6. Provide alternatives. Kids need to be entertained, especially during the holidays, weekends, and soaring hot days! So be sure you provide books, art supplies, bikes, or board games. Try to help your child prepare a small vision board to get inspired. For example, if they have a friend over, discuss with them the various ways of having fun. And allocate a limited time for electronics
  7. Make them busy with house chores, hobbies, and activities. Spring camps are always a winner! 
  8. Allocate time to get outdoors, even if it’s in the privacy of your own backyard. You’re all set with a basketball hoop, a ball, or a small inflatable pool. Check out Mumzworld outdoor collection. It’s enormous and can satisfy any interest of children under 10 with a wide budget range. 
  9. Keep reminding yourself that boredom is good!