It’s hard to believe that another school year is almost over! Once the children are out of school, it’s important to keep them occupied. Perhaps the children’s access to screen media – from TV to computers to electronic games – goes down over the summer. The kids may not know it, but that’s a good thing!

Research shows that children who spend less time watching screen media in the early years tend to do better in school, have a healthier diet, be more physically active, and be better able to engage in schoolwork in elementary school and beyond.

Here are some tips for reducing screen time

  • Turn off the TV during meals, which encourages everyone to eat and talk together.
  • Exercise as a family by taking walks, riding bikes, or playing sports or active games together.
  • Do something active for at least 60 minutes each day.
  • Set up screen-free play dates.
  • Encourage your kids to write a story, draw, or create an art project.

We’ve all heard it before – “I’m bored!” Don’t worry. For children, being bored often leads to creativity. It may take a little while, but they will find ways to entertain themselves. Why not start an “Idea Box” full of different activities your family can do instead of watching TV. Have your children decorate the box and whenever you think of a good idea, write it on a slip of paper and place it in the box. Whenever your children say they are bored, send them running to the box for a new activity. Include both family activities and activities your children can do on their own.

Instead of allowing them to spend hours in front of the TV, try encouraging your kids to do other activities on their own. Think about how careful you are when you choose someone to babysit your children – using the TV as a babysitter is inadvisable.

The city of Phoenix’s Parks and Recreation summer programs are threatened by budget cuts, unfortunately. However, Bear Essential News has compiled a list of Phoenix-area summer camps and programs to keep the children occupied until school starts.

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