Less Screen Time, More Family Time this Holiday Break

No school, few or no extra-curricular activities and barely any responsibilities: no wonder why most kids love holiday break. With all this idle time, it may be hard to pull kids away from screen time whether it be TV, smart phone, computer or tablet use.

Here are some ways to turn kids away from the screens and keep them active this holiday break:

    • Plan different family activities so kids aren’t bored. Simple inexpensive activities like cooking dinner as a family or playing a board game together can help get kids away from the screens. Think of fun and imaginative ways to disconnect, like hosting an indoor “camp out” with blanket forts and pretend ghost stories in the living room.
    • Get out of the house. With less time spent in the house and more time involved in an outdoor activity, kids are more prone to forget what is going on with their smart phones or tablets. Some alternative activities could include ice skating, visiting the local library or bowling.
    • Go back to the basics. A smart phone does just about everything, but sometimes it can help to go back to the days when things had just one purpose. Use an alarm clock rather than an alarm on a phone. Read a physical book instead of reading on a tablet, or write in a journal rather than posting on social media. You can also change up your children’s bedtime routine by using traditional items instead of using electronics.
    • Have a screen time “swear jar.” Encourage the whole family to put change in a jar every time someone uses their phone or tablet during a family meal or other significant family time. At the end of the month, gather the change and spend it on something like a family movie night or a donation toward a cause. Rather not use money? Try “IOU” slips for household chores like chores such as, “I will wash one load of laundry” or “I will vacuum the hallway.”
    • Set a good example. Parents sometimes need a reminder to take time away from the screens, too. One simple way to lessen phone use is to put the phone away in a purse or pocket rather than carrying it around in your hand. Start small by minimizing phone use at the beginning of the day and over time, reaching for the phone will no longer be second nature.

Spend this extra time without phone or tablet use simply being together as a family. Before long, school is back in session, work is in full force and you’ll probably find yourself missing that holiday free time more than you imagined.

One of the ultimate ways to stay away from the screen is to encourage new traditions together as a family.

How will you stay active with your children this winter season?

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Photo by: R. Nial Bradshaw

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