Screen time alternatives

Don’t stress right now over kids having too much tech. But you can still try these ideas to get them back IRL.

Parents have always fretted over their kids’ screen time. But the pandemic has increased that worry to Level 98, especially as families are now planning summer "staycations." “Screen time was hard enough to manage when there were plenty of other things to do,” says father of two Brad Taylor of Fort Thomas, Kentucky. “But it’s tough when it might be kids’ only connection to the outside world.”

And though experts advise parents not to sweat the endless tech time during the pandemic, getting offline can provide opportunities for creativity, independence, and family bonding. (Plus some much-needed rest for those strained eyes.)

“Regardless of the pandemic, one of the most powerful things that parents can give their kids is attention,” says professor Nicholas Salsman of Xavier University’s School of Psychology. “Time away from screens can give parents a way to model social behaviors for their kids as well as engage with, teach, and listen to them in new ways.”