Digital Parenting
June 14, 2024

Technology Tips for Summer Break

Summer break is just around the corner. Here are our top tips for balancing screen time during downtime.

Summer break is here, and while it's a time for kids to relax and have fun, it can also be daunting to keep them occupied. It’s no surprise that kids want to spend time online during the summer—but that doesn’t mean they have to spend their time aimlessly scrolling TikTok or listlessly watching YouTube. Here are some technology tips to make the most of summer break, with a focus on educational, creative and balanced screen time activities.

How to balance screen time this summer

Summer comes but once a year. This is the ideal time for kids to get outside, explore nature and get some physical activity. And while technology can be a great tool for learning and creativity, it's important to balance screen time with other activities. Here are some tips to help maintain that ever-elusive balance balance.

Set clear limits

Not all screen time is created equal, so if you’re trying to enforce time stamps, it can be a good idea to set different limits for different activities. Maybe kids get more time online if they’re coding their own video game—and less if they’re watching reruns of their favorite shows. Outline clear expectations with kids so they know how much time they get for each “technology bucket.” And, use parental control features to enforce these limits.

Encourage outdoor activities

Daily outdoor activities help ensure kids get physical exercise and fresh air. This could include biking, hiking, playing sports or simply exploring nature. If outdoor space permits, planting a garden can be a great way for kids to connect with the environment—and a fun way to get covered in a little bit of dirt.

Set the example

One of the best ways to help kids find tech balance it to demonstrate balance yourself. As much as parents complain about kids being glued to screens, kids often have the same criticism of parents. They’re ultimately more likely to follow screen time rules if they see their parents doing the same.

Prioritize apps that keep kids learning

Summer is a great time to rest and recharge, but it can also be a great opportunity for kids to dive deeper into the topics they love. That could mean learning Swedish just for fun, reading about ancient Greece or engaging in some educational role-playing. Look for kid-friendly apps that are equal parts fun and enriching. Some options include:

Duolingo

Kids can learn new languages through gamified lessons. With daily goals and a variety of languages to choose from, this app is an easy way for kids to connect with family culture—or learn something new just for the heck of it. Suitable for kids ages 4+.

Epic

Billed as the world’s largest digital library for kids, Epic gives young readers access to over 40,000 books, audiobooks, educational videos and more. Make sure to check with your children’s school, because libraries often have subscriptions that students can use for free. Suitable for kids 4+.

Prodigy Math Game

This is an interactive app where kids create their own characters, complete challenges and battle epic bosses—just don’t tell them they’re also learning math. Featuring adaptive learning to challenge kids at their level, this app is ad-free and COPPA-compliant. Suitable for kids 6+.

Use screen time to inspire kids

Summer is a great time for kids to explore their creative side. These apps can help them unleash their imagination and develop new skills in art, music and storytelling. When they’re spending their time online actively creating something (rather than just passively consuming content), it can help them tap into their inspiration. Some options include:

Kinzoo Studio

This app lets kids create their own characters and stories—and easily turn them into videos they can share. From building custom avatars to selecting backgrounds and adopting pets, this app encourages kids to explore their imaginations while learning the basics of animation. Suitable for kids 4+.

ScratchJr

This app introduces younger kids to the world of coding through storytelling. Children use graphical coding blocks, language and math skills to make characters move, jump, sing and dance. Suitable for kids 4–7.

GarageBand

If your kids are interested in music, GarageBand can offer a fun and easy way to compose and record some tracks of their own. There is a wide range of instruments to experiment with, so young musicians can try out new genres and styles in their downtime. Suitable for ages 4+.

Summer break is a wonderful time for kids to relax, learn and explore new interests. With the right apps and a balanced approach to screen time, you can ensure your kids have a safe, enjoyable and enriching summer. Happy summer break!

Image credit: Imgorthand / Getty Images

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