After a year of exams, studying and hectic schedules, the kids are finally out of school. So that means time to relax, but it also means the words ‘I’m Bored’ are going to be heard multiple times.
Don’t let them spend hours at a time on their smartphones or tablets. Try alternative ideas.
Get them outside!
Here are some ideas to encourage kids to step away from the blue screens and get active.
Set Tech Ground Rules
Set an allotted amount of screen time throughout the day and monitor your child’s phone or tablet to make sure they are not overdoing it. Make all mealtimes tech free. Set a certain time at night when technology should be shut down and charge all items in the living room, not their bedrooms.
Encourage Physical Activity
Put the tech away and go play in the backyard, go for a hike, or have a nature scavenger hunt.
Earn Tech Time
Establish chores or outdoor activities that must be completed before screentime is awarded.
Download learning or family game apps you can do together. Consider hiking, biking and fitness apps or a family fitness challenge.
If you are going to allow screen time, be sure you know exactly what they are doing and familiarize yourself with what apps they are using. Regardless of the time of year, remind your kids that certain online rules need to always be followed. Do not “friend” anyone they do not know IRL, never give strangers personal information like their home address or phone number and be careful about what they post.
Summertime Safety Tips
Here are some safety reminders for kids playing outside.
Stay hydrated: Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when they are engaged in physical activities or spending time outdoors in the heat. Remind them to drink water even if they don’t feel thirsty.
Sun protection: Teach your child the importance of sun protection. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF to their exposed skin 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours. Encourage them to wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, loose-fitting clothing to protect against harmful UV rays.
Play safely in water: Whether swimming in a pool, lake, or ocean, ensure your child is always supervised by an adult who knows how to swim. If your child is not a strong swimmer, consider using approved flotation devices. Teach them about water safety rules, such as not running near the pool and never swimming alone.
Heat safety: Be cautious about outdoor activities during peak heat hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Encourage your child to take breaks in shaded areas or indoors to cool down. Remind them never to leave pets, or themselves, in a parked car, even for a brief time, as it can quickly become dangerously hot.
Insect protection: Apply insect repellent to protect against mosquito bites and tick-borne diseases when spending time outdoors, especially in wooded or grassy areas. Teach your child to avoid areas with standing water, as they can attract mosquitoes.
Playground safety: Inspect playground equipment to ensure it is in good condition and free from hazards. Teach your child to use equipment appropriately and avoid rough play that could lead to falls or injuries. Remind them to watch out for hot surfaces on slides, swings, or metal play structures.
Bike safety: If your child rides a bicycle, ensure they always wear a properly fitted helmet. Teach them to follow traffic rules, stay on designated paths, and use appropriate hand signals. Encourage them to ride with a buddy or in groups in well-lit areas and never ride at dusk or in the dark without proper lights.
Stay connected: If your child is old enough to be out and about without constant supervision, establish a system to stay connected. Make sure they have a cellphone or another reliable means of communication and set clear rules and boundaries about where they can go and when they should check in with you. Track your kids and locate sex offenders near them and get location notifications as they come and go from set locations. Learn more: www.offenderwatch.com/offenderwatch-family-safety-app.
Let’s have a healthy, happy, and physically active summer!