Over the past few months, young children have likely spent a lot of time in front of a screen amid pandemic restrictions. But, with the school year over and summer break in full swing, now is a great time for parents to connect with their children and reset screen time routines.
As a mother, former preschool teacher, and kids’ digital media expert, Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS KIDS Digital, has a wealth of knowledge about how to optimize and manage children’s screen time. Sara even gave a TED talk on overcoming the fear of screen time and using it to advance early learning.
Parents don’t have to feel guilty when providing on-screen activities that are both educational and fun, and Sara can provide tips for parents to reset screen time routines for continued summer learning, including:
· Co-viewing educational programming – research shows that joint media engagement promotes learning, especially when followed by asking questions to help kids think critically, explore their feelings and understand how important storylines relate to the world around them
· Extending their on-screen experiences through interactive games – such as cooking in Chef Leo’s Crazy Kitchen from LET’S GO LUNA!, learning to Pinkadance with PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC or going on a nature road trip with NATURE CAT
· Interacting with on-screen characters off-screen – such as encouraging your child to write “fan mail” to a designated character “pen pal,” and writing back from that character’s viewpoint, to give early writing skills a boost
· Creating a visual screen time schedule – including virtual “hangouts” with family, while setting boundaries for device breaks with rules like “no devices in bed” and “no screens before breakfast”
· Driving creativity via screens and technology – through tasks like creating a mini-movie, practicing photography skills or turning to how-to tutorials