I never used to let my kids spend this much time looking at screens.

Not that we were anti-screens, but we definitely set limits trying to heed a more conservative electronics approach. Each day they had a window of time they could play games, be on an iPad or watch TV. It worked for us.

Until COVID.

The shift in learning means my kids are in front of screens more than ever. And while I know they are learning, using electronics for educational purposes, it’s important to find your new normal*** as well as incorporating breaks from screens in the day.

Avoid eye strain with these 9 simple tips.

Try these favorite screen breaks:

1. Dance Party: Turn on a song and have a dance party. This is a fun way to get moving, screen free for a short amount of time between classes, assignments or projects.

2. Meals & Snacks: Natural breaks in the day, eating meals and snacks create a time to stop working and enjoy food. It sounds simple, but all too often kids and adults alike will bring their food to their desk for a working lunch or snack. Making time to stop, unplug from the screen and enjoy something to eat is a great way to refuel.

3. Screen Free Time: Look at your schedule and decide on a block (or blocks) of time in the day that are screen free for the whole family. 

4. DEAR: Drop Everything And Read is a great way to give the eyes a break from electronics and relax. The only rule here is to read something without using a screen. Old fashioned books, newspapers and magazines are the way to go!

5. Exercise: Incorporating exercise is good for everyone, even kids. Find a way to make exercise a part of every day, outside when you can. Even having it in the middle of the day can be a great way to boost productivity and focus for the rest of the learning or work time.

Avoid eye strain from too much screen time with these 9 tips including getting up and dancing.

6. Get Creative: Do something creative and fun. It doesn’t have to be a fancy project. Building with Legos or Play-Doh are perfect for all ages (even grown ups!) and offer a great break from screen fatigue.

7. Chores: Completing chores is a great way to take a screen break and get something done. Don’t wait until all the work is done. Use a simple chore like folding a load of laundry or tidying up the playroom together to give everyone a break from staring at screens.

8. Connect: Make a phone call or write a letter instead of FaceTiming once in a while. It is a welcome break and way to interact without screens.

9. Be Bored: Doing nothing isn’t bad, in fact, science shows that boredom is actually good for people. The only rule? No screens.

The secret to making these screen breaks work is for everyone to follow through. That means it’s a break for mom and dad as much as for the kids. To the best of your ability model the value of screen breaks by participating in these simple ideas with your kids. No phones, no laptops, no tablets. Just a break.