summer vacation get off screens and outside

Summer Unplugged: Encourage Kids to Get Off Screens and Outdoors

Peace at Home June 27, 2024 | Ruth Freeman

As summer approaches, many parents find themselves facing a familiar challenge: how to pry their children away from screens and encourage them to enjoy the great outdoors. At Peace At Home Parenting Solutions, we understand this struggle and have compiled some effective strategies to help your family make the most of the sunny season.

1. Create a Family Plan
The key to success is involving your children in the process. Sit down as a family and discuss:

  • Time allowances for screen use
  • Designated screen-free places in your home
  • Screen-free times during the day

Remember, it’s not about completely eliminating screen time, but finding a healthy balance. For help with rules, routines, and family meetings, check out our workshops.

2. Get Creative
Encourage your kids to explore:

  • Old school fun like board games and rubik’s cubes
  • Outdoor games like hide-and-seek or tag
  • Family nature walks and scavenger hunts
  • Gardening projects
  • Crafts using recycled materials or things found in nature
  • Sports and obstacle courses in the backyard

Ask kids what would be fun. Consider making a summer bucket list of at-home activities and choosing a few each week.

3. Turn Screen Interests into Real-World Activities
Be curious about your child’s online interests and help translate them into offline activities. For example:

  • If they’re into gaming, introduce them to real-world strategy games, obstacle courses, or sports
  • If they enjoy watching shelter-building videos, challenge them to construct a fort in the backyard
  • If they connect with friends online, help them to invite friends over

4. Use Technology as an Ally
Consider a blended approach:

  • Use apps that encourage outdoor exploration, like plant identification or stargazing guides
  • Try geocaching as a family for a tech-enhanced outdoor adventure

5. Model the Behavior You Want
Don’t underestimate the power of modeling. Reflect on your own screen habits and make an effort to engage in outdoor activities yourself.

  • Set digital curfew for yourself
  • Use digital health services offered by your phone
  • Set screen free time throughout the day, following the rules you set up as a family
  • Think about how you want your children to remember this summer. What do you hope to do with them? How do you hope your relationship will grow?

6. Address Boredom and Withdrawal
It’s normal for children to feel bored or frustrated when adjusting to less screen time. Here are some strategies:

  • Express confidence in their ability to find alternative activities
  • Show empathy for their feelings
  • Refer back to your list of fun activities when they need ideas

7. Regular Check-ins
Consider holding weekly or bi-weekly family meetings to:

  • Review how the new guidelines are working
  • Celebrate progress
  • Make adjustments as needed

Remember, the goal is not to completely eliminate screens, but to create a healthy balance that allows your children to enjoy the benefits of both technology and the great outdoors. By implementing these strategies and remaining patient and consistent, you can help your family have a summer filled with adventure, creativity, and quality time together.

At Peace At Home Parenting Solutions, we’re here to support you on this journey. Every family is unique, so don’t hesitate to adapt these suggestions to fit your specific needs. Here’s to a summer of fun, growth, and memorable experiences beyond the screen!

Find more screen time hacks and summer solutions in our catalog!

For more parenting support, join us for an Upcoming Live Workshop, browse our Libraries of Quick Video Solutions and check out our podcasts and other resources. 

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