Kids And Summer Boredom: 77 Percent Of Parents Turn To Devices; Best Tips To Lessen Gadget Use

By Rachel Cruise, Parent Herald June 06, 03:20 am

With children off school for a few months, many will be spending their time on the bed or couch and growing easily bored. This is a challenging time for any parent with school-age kids. How can moms and dads make summer interesting and how can they keep the children occupied without depending on gadgets for entertainment?

A recent survey, conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, revealed that 77 percent of parents turn to devices to solve the problems of summer boredom. The association cites that, while this is convenient, it could lead to health and development risks. In younger kids, gadget dependency has been found to affect speech and language progress, while it has been found to disrupt social and communication skills in big kids. In some cases, it may also lead to hearing loss.

Knowing that these problems are happening, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association have come up with suggestions for families to have a fairly fruitful summer with the kids with little reliance on gadgets. Below are the recommendations:

1. Travel for the summer, but keep devices away from the kids. These days, parents usually have iPads packed with games and movies ready in the car for long road trips. Instead of taking out the devices, why not introduce classic road trip games such I Spy or 20 Questions? Mashable has some great ideas for unique road trip games, which should make family bonding even richer.

2. Organize activities that won't require gadget use. If the kids have a lot of free time, then why not organize plenty of outdoor activities? Have sports games, pool parties and backyard barbeques with friends, extended families or the rest of the neighborhood. Make it a rule to keep gadgets and cellphones off, so that there will be no selfie-taking or social media post updates. Everyone should be enjoying the moment.

3.  Schedule a day off from technology in the family.
This might be met with protests from the kids. However, if parents compound this with interesting activities, such as a day at the amusement park, then the kids will hardly notice missing fiddling with their phones.

4. Set creative activities that won't rely on gadgets. Go back to basics of learning fun by having an arts and crafts day at home, or going on field trips, or taking a new hobby together as a family. These activities should also strengthen bonds and relationships as you make memories and experiences with your kids.

5. Keep volumes down when using devices. As a last resort, kids may use gadgets to spend their lazy summers. But the American Speech-Language-Hearting Association suggests that parents should see to it that volumes on the devices are dialed down, especially if the kids prefer using headphones.  This way, they don't risk affecting their hearing.

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