Nicole Runyon

Follow Your Instincts When It Comes to Screen Time This Summer

Are you worried about your kids spending too much time on screens this summer? Summer vacation comes with the freedom from school but also the potential for kids to be glued to their screens. How can children have an enriching summer without too much screentime or battles with parents over devices?

Children from zero to seven learn through play, especially outside. Don’t be afraid to let them get dirty! Activities such as climbing trees, riding bikes, going to the park, walking and hiking, digging in the dirt, and searching for rocks or bugs are all great for social emotional, cognitive and physical development. With safe boundaries and light supervision, unstructured playtime is important for children to learn social skills, how to rely on themselves, and emotion regulation. Without adequate playtime, children run the risk of sensory, speech, or developmental delays due to a lack of physical and social activity.

Do you expect to hear the dreaded “I’m bored” from your kids? That’s okay, it could inspire creativity, imagination, and new ideas in their developing minds. For kids seven to twelve, you can send them to day camps and other organized activities to keep them entertained. Short, focused projects can help kids make new friends, gain confidence, and hone social skills.

Age-appropriate chores are a great way to teach kids responsibility and teamwork. Even toddlers can help by putting toys and books away after using them. Teach older kids how to do laundry, wash dishes, and sweep the floor. Learning how to complete these day-to-day household activities gives children a sense of autonomy and accomplishment to feel good about.

Is your older child exhibiting self-centered or selfish behavior? This is typical at this age and a great opportunity to teach them how to be of service to others. Adolescents can help grandparents, neighbors, and family friends with watering plants, lawn care, dog walking, or other “mommy’s helper” jobs. Kids learn the value of empathy when they are able to look beyond themselves and support others. Assisting others provides a sense of agency when they are able to do something they care about.

Teenagers aged 13 and up (if/when they are legally able) could get a summer job. Working outside the home is a crucial rite of passage for adolescents. They can gain valuable listening and communication skills and self-confidence from the experience.

Parents, it’s important to follow your instinct on device use during the summer months. You have the power to set limits or eliminate your child’s screen time completely. Overall, less screen time can help your child become healthier, happier, and more confident during the summer months.

Meet Nicole Runyon

Nicole Runyon is a psychotherapist, parent coach and keynote speaker. Picture this: a woman 5”0 tall in stature, she is small but mighty. 

What’s truly remarkable? She left her private practice working with children to speak to and write for parents who need help with their iGeneration children. Renowned for bold messages, Nicole is more than your average psychotherapist, she is a revolutionary. 

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