Dear Dr. Lisa,
With summertime approaching, how can I avoid having my grandkids jump on their phones and game for hours every day? I look forward to time with my grandkids but am concerned that summer will come and go without having any quality time away from the screens.
Dear Concerned Grandmother,
I get this question frequently about how to maximize summertime with kids that doesn’t involve them being glued to a computer or cell phone. Just because they are out of school does not mean YOUR time with them should be connected to a device! It is important to remember that summer is sometimes a hard transition for students, as they go from a structured eight hour day to unlimited freedoms, not to mention that most schools require a lot of computer time for assignments and class work today.
My recommendation, and what I utilize with my own family, is to be thankful for this extra time with your kids and use it as an opportunity for new experiences together. Especially if you have teens, it can be hard to stay updated and involved in certain aspects of their lives and summer can be a terrific excuse to get to know them a little better.
During the week ask them what they would like to do for a special one-on-one, give them a household chore to teach them responsibility that will make them feel valued and try setting up physical, mental and emotional experiences to provide some structure for the summer.
Another good option is to look for exciting volunteer opportunities at a local summer camp or nonprofit. If these don’t seem like a good fit, find some useful online apps they can utilize in a healthy way like photography, yoga or meditation. For example, if they are interested in film making, download a movie making app and create a new family memory.
This summer, don’t let the heat be an excuse to stay inside and online with your kids. Be creative and know that they will appreciate the efforts you take to enhance their summer break.