Keeping the kids entertained during the school holidays without resorting to the iPad babysitter can be tough, especially given its cold outside.
With all the additional time on their hands, the urge to use devices is even stronger. During the school term, about 77% of kids said they find it difficult to wake up on school mornings, while 62% find it “difficult” to get to sleep on school nights, which means that poor sleep habits will be exacerbated during the school holidays if screen time is not managed. Our resident blogger and Mum of two, Jess shares her tips on managing screentime these school holidays.
1. Set routines and boundaries
‘If you already have routines and boundaries during the school term, keep these going during the school holidays. By keeping to the same routine, kids won’t fall into bad habits when they have more time to use their devices’ Jess explains.
2. Take them out of the house
‘Time permitting, arrange some family fun days outside the home. Take them somewhere new or even somewhere they usually love going. By distracting them and placing them in a new environment, they won’t even think about wanting to use their devices.’
3. Provide some activities that don’t involve screens
‘Painting, drawing, reading, board games, building a fort, baking a cake . . . the list goes on. What did your kids enjoy doing before they ever got an iPad or Smartphone? Tap into what they enjoy doing outside of YouTube, Gaming or Social Media to keep them entertained.’
4. Moderate device use
‘Like everything in life, moderation is key. We try and make sure our family routine consists of a range of healthy and sensory activities, encouraging lots of physical, creative and sensory play’ says Jess.
5. Appropriate apps
‘Help your child make good app choices. There are so many fun educational apps, that your child won’t even know they’re learning. In addition, they develop important skills like hand-eye coordination, early literacy, building relationships and more. The internet is a wonderful resource for them when used safely and I encourage parents to "co-play" or get involved with their child’s use of technology as much as possible. This will keep them connected as a family but also allow you to ensure their app choices are safe and healthy’.
By Jessica Hill, Family Zone
Jess is a mum of two and came on board at Family Zone after she worked as an Intelligence Analyst for the WA Police for 9 years. During that time she was placed in the cyber area of the Sex Crime Division where she dealt with families and victims of cybercrime, and her passion for cyber safety developed. “I couldn't believe the enormity of cases in sexting, grooming and paedophilia that I dealt with on a daily basis. One of the common themes I saw was parents overwhelmed & not knowing what to do. I really wanted to get involved in a prevention role where I could help families protect their children. Family Zone is this and more!!” Cyber Safety Sorted!