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5 Tips for Reducing Kids' Screen Time Over the Holidays

Written by: Isabelle Rupani / November 13, 2023

As the holiday season approaches, families often find themselves grappling with the challenge of managing children's screen time. With school out and the weather turning colder, it's easy for kids to gravitate towards digital devices for entertainment. Although technology has its benefits in providing educational and recreational content, it's important to balance digital consumption with other activities to ensure children's overall well-being.

1. Set Clear Limits

One effective strategy for reducing screen time is setting clear limits. This could include establishing specific hours for device use, which you can do with Gryphon's Screen Time Schedule tool. It could also include encouraging regular breaks every 30 to 60 minutes to reduce eye strain and promote physical activity. In addition to these time-based limits, creating tech-free zones and times in the home can be beneficial. For instance, making the dining room or bedrooms screen-free areas and enforcing no-device rules during meals and family gatherings can foster more face-to-face interactions and strengthen family bonds.

2. Promote Alternative Activities

Encouraging alternative activities to screen time is another key approach. This could involve promoting reading, board games, crafts, or outdoor play. The holidays offer numerous opportunities for family activities, such as baking, decorating, or volunteering, which not only engage children in meaningful experiences but also divert their attention from screens.

Physical activity should be a priority, as regular exercise is vital for children’s health. Planning outdoor activities or indoor physical games can be a fun way for the family to take a break from screens. Additionally, allowing for periods of unstructured play can stimulate children’s imagination and creativity away from digital influences. Providing resources like art supplies, books, and puzzles can further encourage non-digital play.

3. Use Technology Together

When technology is used, it’s beneficial to make it a shared family activity. Watching holiday movies or even playing video games together can create bonding experiences and allow parents to discuss the content with their children, enhancing their critical thinking and media literacy. Additionally, parents should lead by example by modeling balanced screen use themselves. When children see adults managing their own screen time effectively, they are more likely to emulate these habits.

4. Focus on Quality

In addition to the quantity of screen time, it's also important to focus on the quality. Opting for educational apps or programs that encourage learning and creativity can be more beneficial than passive activities like video watching. Parents should monitor the digital content their children are exposed to with parental control tools like Gryphon, and have open discussions about online safety and digital etiquette.

5. Be Flexible

Lastly, it’s crucial to understand that each child’s screen time needs may vary. Parents should consider their child's age, interests, and temperament when setting guidelines and be flexible in adjusting these guidelines based on individual needs and the specific context of their family’s holiday plans.

Create New Screen Time Habits This Holiday Season

In conclusion, managing screen time during the holidays is about finding a balance. By setting boundaries, offering diverse activities, and using technology together as a family, parents can ensure that their children’s use of digital devices remains a positive and enriching part of their lives. The holiday season presents a unique opportunity to reconnect with each other, create lasting memories, and establish healthy habits that can last beyond the festive period.