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Turning Screen-time into Green-time

Updated: May 28, 2021

Sometimes I wonder how I lived my life before my smartphone.

Maybe you can relate? My kids are equally charmed: TikTok, Snapchat, Roblox, “Insta”, the list goes on. The digital landscape all evolves so quickly too. Just the other day I asked my 13-year-old daughter to text her friend and she informed me that she only communicates through Snapchat now and that texting is for grown-ups. Who knew?!?

As a nature-lover and a mother of 5 aged 9-17, I often wonder and struggle with how to balance my kids’ screen-time with “green-time”. How do I help my children to fall in love with nature and to naturally want to spend less time on their screens?

Limiting screen-time, especially during this pandemic, seems to be every parents’ dilemma these days. We all know that too much is bad for our kids, but how much is too much and how can we regulate it and redirect them?

I reflected on what has worked for my family and found this great article. Here are my helpful tips for limiting screen time and turning some of that into “green-time”:

  • Engage your child or teen in solving the problem. Help them to understand the importance and work together to figure out the appropriate amount of time and how they can keep track of that time (for our younger kids we set a screen limit so that the device turns off when they hit the limit).

  • Have them make an “I’m bored” list. Help them brainstorm ideas of what they can do instead of going on their device and suggest fun outdoor activities.

  • Have fun outside as a family! Do a family hike and check out our family hike series. Our family usually includes a stop for something sweet on the way home which helps with the motivation! Other fun activities could be gardening, biking, or just playing in the yard. Sign up for our monthly newsletter for new inspiration.

  • Encourage your kids to get their daily dose of “Vitamin ‘N’” or “Green-time”. You can even make a chart to keep track.

  • Model screen limits and time outside yourself (this is where the rubber hits the road!).

Wishing you time to "thrive outside" with your family this spring,

Shannon Rozea is the Founding Director of Thrive Outside

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