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KIWI magazine
screen-free summer

Slipping your sandals off and walking barefoot through the grass, catching fireflies at dusk, running wild through the sprinklers on a hot day, playing capture the flag till it’s too dark to see—these are just a few of the magical moments a carefree summer can offer. My best childhood memories all revolve around long summer days—the tastes, the sounds, the adventures. Biting into juicy watermelon that drips down your arms, falling asleep to the cool breeze lightly blowing the curtains in and out, selling lemonade at the top of my driveaway, the list could go on. The memories and traditions made in those early days have stayed with me decades later. 

Growing up in the ‘90s, screentime wasn’t as big of an issue. I watched TV, but other than occasionally powering up the family desktop, I lived mainly untethered to technology. Today, technology is omnipresent in all we do and it has changed how kids grow up. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, American children spend an estimated seven hours a day in front of screens. This can negatively affect their cognitive development, social skills, creative play abilities, and academic performance. Research also shows that too much screen time for young children can pose a risk for childhood obesity, irregular sleep patterns, and behavioral problems.

So this year, it’s time to take back the simple joys of summer vacation and instill in your kiddos a love of adventure, outdoors, and spontaneous play without the screens. Here are a few helpful tips to inspire your family’s unforgettable summer.

Head outdoors together and often

The best way to teach your kids is through example. What better way to show them the true joys of warmer temperatures and longer days than by enjoying them yourself? Whether it be a family walk after work, weekend adventures at the beach, or simply playing in the backyard, everyone will benefit from the added bonding and fresh air.

Create family traditions

Your family is unique, so celebrate the passage of time and the best parts of the seasons in your own unique way. These will be the memories that your kids will hold onto from year to year and possibly even pass on to their own children. Whether you plant a garden together, pick your own berries to make jam, or create your own backyard Olympics, the opportunities are endless.

Let your kids be bored

When your kids are bored, they’ll be forced to think up fun things to fill their time—and that’s when the magic starts. The simple act of slowing down leads to a greater awareness of your surroundings and lets your brain wander to all the best places. Just be sure to encourage your kiddos towards creative projects or outdoor fun and away from the tablets and TVs.

Ditch the toys for more imaginative play

So while toys are great, having less stuff can lead your kids to use their imagination more. Keeping a few engaging toys in the rotation and letting go of the rest may inspire your littles to spend more time playing pretend, putting on impromptu shows, or exploring.

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