Screen Time Alternatives For This Summer

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

School is out and that means your kids are probably enjoying their time off with no homework and extra time to sleep in and relax. When school’s not in session, it means that your kids are left to entertain themselves and for many, this means turning to a screen. Excessive screen time, however, can lead to language or social delays, attention problems, obesity, aggressiveness, and much more. If you are looking for ways to combat the boredom that may creep up during the summer months and keep your kids from screen time over use, we’ve listed some screen time alternatives here. 

Start a reading contest among family members: 

Make this something that the whole family participates in. For example, create a reading log that both you and your child will log titles into over the summer. Then, start reading many books as you can over the summer. Have your child write each one down and at the end of the summer, compare notes on who read more. To make it even more appealing, establish milestones and provide rewards at the end of each milestone. This not only encourages your child to achieve a goal, but also gives them the opportunity to practice reading while expanding their knowledge base. 

Learn an instrument or participate in other musical activities:  

If your child is interested in learning an instrument or enjoys singing, the summer is a great time to start lessons. Allow them to teach and challenge themselves in new ways. Music can be an incredibly beneficial thing for young, developing minds. 

Focus on building or crafting:

For kids that are naturally more hands-on, let them create crafts or build things. Let them get outside and use their hands and imaginations. For example, let them build an obstacle course, or tackle a building project in the backyard. The sky’s the limit!

Be social:

When kids get out of school, there is plenty of time for socializing and developing lifelong friendships. If your kids are young, be intentional about setting up play dates with other friends from school or church. If your children are older, encourage them to establish regular hang out times with friends that have a positive impact on them. Learning how to interact socially is very important and is the complete contrast of spending time in front of a screen, which can leave a young person feeling isolated or lonely. 

It’s important to note that screen time in its entirety isn’t bad. If it is used in moderation, it can be an entertaining tool that challenges and motivates kids to learn and use their imagination.  But when it is overused and children (or their parents) begin to rely on it, it can be detrimental to mental health. This summer, focus on having your kids participate in beneficial activities that will promote healthy brain development and positive social skills.