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Five tips for parents to manage their child’s screen time during the school holidays

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It’s school holiday time and parents are now faced with the task of keeping their kids entertained during the break while at the same time managing their screen time.

Dr Joanne Orlando, a leading expert when it comes to children and technology, says parents have lots of options over the summer holidays that will keep the kids happy, active and creative.

She has come up with some great strategies to keep the kids happy without spending endless hours on devices.

Here are Dr Jo’s Top 5 tips for managing screen time over the holidays:

1.Encourage your child to use their device creatively over the summer holidays. Instead of watching endless hours of YouTube, set them up with a technology holiday project. They could spend the day making a video of the family, or they could script and act out a playscene with their toys where their toys become the stars of the video.

2.For working parents, juggling work with school holidays, devices can seem like the only option of keeping kids quiet while you work. Repeatedly doing this however can lead to unhealthy hours spent on devices and in the long term kids wanting even more screentime. Aim to use a range of strategies to keep kids busy.

3. Get your child to play with others when they are on their device, including you. Playing a good quality game together is a great way to develop their language and social skills and their problem solving skills.

Dr Joanne Orlando

4.Create new habits for waking up that don’t involve going straight to their device. For example, encourage kids to play with the dog first thing in the morning, or they could start the day drawing a ‘picture of the day’ to put on the fridge.

5.Get your kids to write e-books about their holiday activities. This involves writing the story, creating photos, video or animations on their device to add to their writing.   This is a great, creative holiday activity.

Apple has a number of features that can help parents and the whole family.

Screen Time, a new feature of iOS 12, can provide a snapshot of how much time you spend on your devices.

It also breaks it down into use of particular apps and websites.

From here it’s easy to set limits in terms of time and content as well as creating exceptions for specific apps like messages or educational apps.

Family Sharing is also helpful for managing content.

When a child wants to download an app or make an in-app purchase. they need to be approved by mum or dad.

This also allows the family to share the movies, TV shows, music and books that have already been downloaded.