Last time the kids were on holidays, screen time use got a little out of hand. It didn’t start off like that but there was a slow decline that led to all eyes glued to screens by the time school was ready to go back.
Can you relate to this?
It has happened to me before.
The school term was a breeze when it came to managing screen use. Everyone knew how the system worked. Even the weekends were sorted (mostly).
And then it all fell apart. Parental work commitments continued. Family helped with watching the children. The normal routine went out the window. And it was nice to have a little break from the routine.
I didn’t really see it coming.
I just looked around one day and all my children were sitting on the lounge. With devices in their hands. How long had they been sitting there? I had to admit that I wasn’t entirely sure.
I made a decision there and then that next holidays would be different. I swung into action and came up with a few options. Some suit our family better than others.
I’ve put them all together in this post to share with you so that you can help your kids to maintain healthy screen time habits over the holidays.
Tip 1 to maintain healthy screen time use over the holidays – Create a Holiday Schedule. It takes a little bit of time but the results are worth it! By sitting down and breaking up your day, you can easily fill in activities to do around your home and decrease the amount of time the kids turn to their devices. Check out this list of 40 Ways you can get your kids to put their screens down.
Tip 2 to maintain healthy screen time use over the holidays – This is a fun idea where kids need to ‘earn’ their screen time. All the rules and a printout for screen time tickets is in this post.
Tip 3 to maintain healthy screen time use over the holidays – I rather like this one because it helps to set a nice tone for the day. This method of managing screen time involves an agreement for what must be done/completed before the child is allowed to use a device. We’ll call these “Ground Rules”. Rules will depend on your family but here are some ideas to get you started:
- Make their bed and get dressed
- Have breakfast and clean their teeth
- Straighten their roomReed for 30 minutes
- Help with an allocated chore around the house
- Play outside for an hour
You get the idea! Get the kids involved and come up with some ground rules! Write them down and have everyone sign them.
Tip 4 to maintain healthy screen time use over the holidays – Use a timer! It’s simple and effective. Decide on the length of time your child can use their device for and let them know you have set a timer. Kids respond so much better to timers than Mum and Dad nagging at them!
Caution: Children know how to change timers so keep yours in sight at all times!
Tip 5 to maintain healthy screen time use over the holidays – Is your child using an Apple device? Perfect! Use Guided Access! Instead of setting a length of time that they can use their device for, tell them that they can watch an episode or a movie and lock it in using Guided Access. This way, they know that their screen time is up when guided access comes to an end. They can’t do anything else on the device until you have popped in your passcode.
Guided access also has a timer you can set as well as noises or verbal cues to let you child know that their time is nearly up. Great for kids who need a little bit of warning before the main event.
Bonus Tip: Do not tell your child your passcode!
Tip 6 to maintain healthy screen time use over the holidays – Split their allocated screen time in two by agreeing to them using an educational app for half their time and then allowing them to use the device for entertainment for the other half of their time. The best of both worlds!
Tip 7 to maintain healthy screen time use over the holidays – Invest in a Cyber Safety Solution that includes Screen Time management. Family Zone lets you setup routines especially for the holidays AND it has an app where you can change their access with just a tap. This solution is magic – especially when you are managing screen time use for multiple children.
What Should You Do Next?
Well, you could:
- select one of the tips above and start to put it in place,
- chat with the kids and see which tip one they respond to most
- or why not mix it up little bit and try a few tips out to see which ones are more effective for your family?
Happy holiday screen time use!