School is in full swing and the days are getting shorter and colder. When kids burst through the door after leaving the bus, homework stuffed in their backpacks ready to finish, they’re eager to have some screen time. As a parent of 4 kids I totally understand their desire to unwind. We all need time to relax, and screen time is the perfect activity on a cold fall evening to do just that–tune out and plug in.
Parents in the 1960s and 1970s were concerned about T.V. time. Parents in the 1980s were worried about Nintendo and other forms of gaming. Parents in the 1990’s started to deal with computer screen time more so than the previous generations. Parents today deal with all of the above issues and more. An overwhelming number of kids have their own television, computer, tablet, AND cell phone. Screen time is an issue in most homes, and any parent’s concern about too much screen time is understandable. The question on any reasonable parent’s mind is, “What’s the right amount of screen time?”
Every home dynamic is different, and parents will have to decide what’s appropriate or not for each of their children. There is plenty of software that help parents monitor screen time, making it easier to be a parent in the digital age. Here are two Mom’s Choice Award-winning examples of such software:
So what can kids do this winter that doesn’t involve screen time?
Winter is long and drawn out, but there are still TONS of activities kids can do besides sitting on the couch playing with tablets. Maybe you’ve already thought of some of these, but give ’em all a try!
- Board games. Hello retro! I remember playing board games for HOURS when I was little. Pull out those dusty games and pop some popcorn. Family fun has officially started.
- YouTube Yoga. Ok, so technically its screen time but at least your child will be active. Yoga has been shown to help concentration, balance, coordination, and self esteem. When my daughter does yoga she sleeps better too. Bonus!
- Arts and crafts. Craft stores are going to be going crazy with holiday deals. Pick up some extra odds and ends and get crafting. Kids love to be creative and I’ll bet they spend HOURS creating.
- Go for a drive WITHOUT the tablets and play some car games. Remember the license plate game or the alphabet game? Car bingo is always a good time too.
- Good ol’ outside play. Bundle up those toes and head outdoors! Sled, ski, snowboard, walking, whatever. Kids have been enjoying the snow for millennia and have survived–your kids can too!
Parenting in the tech generation is definitely a trial and error endeavor. Do some research and find out what works best for you! A great balance of school, after school activities, screen time, and family time make for a well run household.
About Heather Bowcutt
Heather is the is the primary author of the Kids Email blog, where she offers safety and parenting tips, for when the kids are online and off.
Kidsemail.org is an award-winning, safe email service for kids. Use Kids Email to safeguard your children from language, predators, images, and video, while keeping them connected to loved ones and learning about technology in a safer environment.