Balancing Summer Screen Time

By Tracey Dowdy

Ask almost any parent and they’ll tell you one of the greatest challenges they face today is finding a balance for screen time. Too little and they fall behind their peers, too much and they get lost in the virtual world and miss out on the real world around them.

Screen time isn’t all bad. It helps your kids stay connected to friends who don’t live nearby, and the multitude of online summer camps and fun, educational games can help students avoid the dreaded brain-drain that seems inevitable over the summer.

These tips will help you help you and your child find a balance between virtual and real-world adventures this summer.

Model the behavior you want to see. That hits close to home, doesn’t it? If you spend family dinners checking your phone or you stare at your screen when you’re out for a walk with the family, you’re setting a double standard. Be intentional about screen-free time for the whole family.

Give them options. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Take a day to play at the park or the beach, go on a hike, explore a museum or a farm, take a cooking class together, or paint some pottery – the list of possibilities is endless. Check your community bulletin boards for summer day camps or family fun days, and check your local library for summer reading initiatives and family events.

Help them be entrepreneurs. If they’re too young for a regular summer job, help them find creative ways to earn some summer-fun money. Perhaps they can earn an extra allowance by going above their regular chores and clearing out the basement, mowing the grass at home or for the neighbors, opening a lemonade stand, pet sitting, dog walking, or even babysitting or working as mother’s helper. Encourage them to think about what they’d like to do and work together to find outlets that match their skills. At the risk of sounding like your grandfather, it’s never too early to learn the value of a day’s work.

Summer is a great time to volunteer together. Communities often need volunteers to help clean up a park or neighborhood or carry out other community related activities. Depending on the child’s age, they can volunteer at a hospital, senior center, animal shelter, or homeless shelter. Look for opportunities in your neighborhood. Perhaps there’s an elderly neighbor who could use help with yard work or simple household chores.

The key is to be creative: What works at my house may not be as effective at yours. What are your tips for balancing screen time with your kids?

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


  1. It’s great that you are getting thoughts from this article as well as from our discussion made here.

  2. First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask
    if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts
    before writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any ideas or hints? Thank you!

  3. Remarkable things here. I am very happy to peer your article.

    Thanks so much and I’m taking a look forward to touch you.

    Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  4. It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people about this subject, however,
    you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

  5. My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different website and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you.
    Look forward to finding out about your web page repeatedly.

  6. Hey there! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out
    from Austin Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the
    excellent job!

  7. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your
    site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually
    enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds
    and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  8. Hi there, yes this paragraph is genuinely pleasant and I have learned lot of things from
    it about blogging. thanks.

  9. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem to be
    running off the screen in Ie. I’m not sure if this is a formatting
    issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The design look great though! Hope you get the
    issue resolved soon. Many thanks

  10. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having
    a tough time locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail.
    I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog
    you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to
    seeing it expand over time.

  11. Volunteering is a very good thing. And I think we need to help people whenever possible. Recently, I learned how to help ukrainian children and began to deal with this issue. The war continues in Ukraine. And we must do everything to support these people.

  12. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a
    blog that’s both educative and interesting, and let me tell you,
    you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something
    that too few folks are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy I came across this during my hunt for something regarding this.

  13. I just like the valuable info you provide to your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and take a look at once more here frequently.
    I am reasonably certain I will be told many new stuff right
    here! Good luck for the following!

  14. I am really loving the theme/design of your
    site. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?

    A few of my blog readers have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox.

    Do you have any advice to help fix this problem?

  15. Hello! I realize this is kind of off-topic but
    I needed to ask. Does managing a well-established blog like yours take a large amount of work?
    I am completely new to operating a blog but I do write in my
    journal every day. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my personal experience
    and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for new aspiring bloggers.
    Appreciate it!

  16. Very good blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics
    discussed here? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other
    knowledgeable people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.


  17. Time is very important to me. Personally, I can’t waste time . For me, photography is a great way to capture moments in time, give them meaning and preserve memories that might otherwise disappear in the flow of time. I think it’s very important to be able to capture not only the outside world, but also the time we invest in every moment of our lives.

  18. I’m not sure why but this site is loading extremely slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end?
    I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  19. Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured
    I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or
    maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My blog covers a
    lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you are interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you!
    Fantastic blog by the way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *