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How to Balance Outside Time With Screen Time

Spring has sprung, which means warmer weather, more outside time for the kiddos, and school will wrap up soon. As a parent you may be wondering, “How do I balance spending time outside with my kids and letting them have screen time?” It may seem like a difficult balance to strike, but we promise—it’s not as hard as it seems. We’ll walk you through how to strike this balance in a way that works for you AND them!

Priorities and Schedules

Before you can fully establish a healthy balance for your kids between screen time and other activities, it’s important to evaluate what your family’s priorities and schedule are in this season. For example, are your kids involved in sports? Do you have dinner together every night at the table? Do you have a strict bedtime routine? Maybe your kids have set playdates or go to daycare. Whatever your day-to-day schedule looks like, it’s important to take stock of that before you set boundaries with screen time. Your schedule as a family, and what works for YOU, will always be more important than having strict parameters around outdoor and screen times.

Importance of Outside Play

Spending time outdoors has a myriad of benefits, especially for children! Outdoor time is linked to improved motor development, lower obesity rates, and getting Vitamin D exposure. It also helps children be more engaged in what they’re learning, promoting curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors also helps children be less angry or aggressive. Lastly, there are numerous mental benefits to spending time outdoors—Vitamin D can help decrease depression, anxiety, and stress. So even just getting 15-30 minutes of time outdoors can help with overall mood and behavior.

Even if screen time wasn’t part of the equation, spending time outdoors with your kids has incredible benefits. With screen time in the equation, it’s even more imperative to ensure the kids are spending time outside, playing games, interacting with other kids, etc.

Pros of Screen Time

It’s no secret that screen time typically has a bad wrap, especially with kids under the age of 5. But not all screen time is created equal! If you’re able to monitor your childrens’ online activity and ensure that they’re consuming quality, enriching media, then it can be beneficial to their development. One study showed that screen time in moderation actually showed increased social and emotional well-being. A few other benefits are: it can improve socialization, enhance critical thinking, promote school readiness, help with fine motor skill development, and encourage literacy and communication. In order to keep screen time a positive experience, it’s important to focus on what your kids are consuming, not just how much.

Outdoor Activities

As the weather continues warming up, get outside WITH your kids! Here are some fun springtime activities to do with your little ones:

  • On a rainy day, play in the rain! Splash in puddles or make boats.

  • On a windy day, fly a kite!

  • Go on a walk or bike ride.

  • Plant a veggie/fruit/flower garden! (We’re big fans of gardens here).

  • Go bird watching or butterfly catching.

  • Pack a yummy lunch and have a picnic.

  • Make and put out hummingbird feeders.

  • Pick flower bouquets.

Enjoy Spring Time AND Screen Time

The gist of all this is that yes, it’s important to strike a balance between spending time outdoors and letting your kids be on screens. However, not all screen time is created equal, and it’s not inherently bad. Just like not all schedules are created equal—your kiddos may already get a lot of outdoor time with sports and other activities. Whatever your day-to-day looks like, we encourage you to get outside with your kids at least once a day, and make sure to monitor what they’re watching—it’s more important than how much.

If you need quality, faith-based, family-friendly entertainment for you and your kids to enjoy, download The Garden App! Now available in the App Store and Google Play Store.

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