Remote Learning and the Need for Nature

Remote Learning and Nature

Remote learning in our family has re-defined screen time for us. Previously we had fairly stringent controls using Circle, but we have had to loosen those up to allow for remote schooling. I made a profile for my boys – one for school and one for at home, that way we can have stronger controls on our home devices versus those that are needed for school.

We try to limit screentime at home to one or two hours a day based on the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. On the weekends, we try to go outside and enjoy nature by going for a hike, doing land art or finding shells at a nearby beach. My younger son especially loves to go outside and run. It’s a great break from the screens and an opportunity to get outside and play! Playtime outside is such an important time which allows kids to use their imagination, enjoy different animals and experiences that they might not otherwise have at home.

Recently, my son did land art at school and decided to pick up shells at school and make a sculpture of land art on the beach. It was fun to watch him make it – and to get outside.

That said – limiting screentime during remote learning is tough! Blue light blocker glasses work well for kids as well as the ability to adjust the brightness and color shift the screen. We also remind our kids to be good digital citizens. We also screen programming to make sure it is age appropriate, remind them of good digital behavior and encourage use of screens in family spaces like the living room. NetSmartz is a great resource for kids and parents, as is this Boys Life article about cyber safety.

My husband and I know that screens are here to stay, and we can find different ways to encourage off time from the screens when not doing schooling.

Digital Media Screentime and Children

Digital Media Screentime and Kids

 

As a parent, one of the many questions I think about is the impact of screen time and kids.  For a child aged 2 – 5 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 hour per day of high quality programs.  I struggle with this because we use learning apps like Reading Eggs, ABC Mouse and educational alternatives – how does this factor in.

As a previous blogger and app reviewer at The iMums – there are no easy answers.  For me, we choose high quality media while watching television such as PBS Kids and while using a tablet, we try to monitor usage while educating like Reading Egg and ABC Mouse.  These apps teach educational things like sight words, ABCs, early math, history, science and reading.

It’s important as parents to set limits for our kids and for ourselves. Knowing when enough is enough is important.  Setting a digital family diet will help to reinforce those limits and it may vary from family to family.