Did you know that according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the average child between the ages of eight and 12 spends four to six hours a day on a screen? While screens can be entertaining and even help educate children, too much use may lead to problems, like lower grades in school and lack of quality sleep.
As an au pair, it can feel like a lot of pressure to avoid screen time throughout a ten-hour workday, especially now that the summer season has arrived! How can you entertain your host child for that long? Without school, it can feel daunting to come up with ways to play all day.
Look no further! Here are five ways au pairs can avoid using screen time with their host kids this summer:
1. Create a summer routine incentive that doesn’t include screen time.
Include activities such as reading, doing simple chores, or working on some academic skills that earn your kids points, stickers, or some other form of “currency” they can cash in for rewards. Check out this recent blog post with more information to get started.
2. Get outside.
When temptation is out of sight, it’s also out of mind. Your kids will likely ask less to watch TV or play video games if they’re not seeing those electronics throughout the day. Go for a bike ride, spend time at the park, have a picnic, run through the sprinkler. The possibilities for outdoor fun are endless!
Ask your host parents if you can set up playdates with your host kids’ friends or au pair friends and their host kids. Playing with friends can be a great way for kids to pass lots of time without boredom or wanting to fill in hours of playing on a tablet.
4. Get back to basics.
Some of the most fun ways to pass time are basic games you may have played as a kid. These can include simple card games, Simon Says, board games, and fort building with couch cushions just to name a few. Your positive attitude toward these activities will set the mood for kids to be excited and want to participate.
5. Set a good example.
Don’t be on your phone during the workday. Kids emulate the behavior of grown-ups around them, so be sure to set the right example. Phones can be addictive but you’ll need to keep your checking to a minimum and only for the purpose of host family communication throughout the day. Avoid checking social media or email during your workday.
What are some of your best ways to avoid screen time with your host kids? Let us know!