This Summer, Set Screen-time Limits: Engage Kids in Family Activities

By: Debra Leonard, M.Ed., LDA Educational Consultant

Why should we be concerned about limiting time on 'screens' this summer? How harmful are activities such as watching TV, playing computer games, using social media and surfing on a laptop or tablet? According to, a correlation exists between the amount of time spent engaging with screens and common emotional problems in children and teens. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises no more than one to two hours of screen time a day. They also recommend no TV or screen time at all for children under two years of age. So, while it would be ideal to eliminate screen time for all our kids this summer, that is just not a realistic option in this age of constant connectivity. Let's look at some ways we can limit screen time and still enjoy a peaceful and fun summer with our children.

First, we, as parents, need to lead by example. Our children need to see us engaging in family time, time with friends, reading, hobbies and exercise. In this way, we demonstrate that non-digital activities are fun. In addition, we must set limits on how much screen time each child is allowed and when during the day that time can be spent. For example, parents can set a daily goal with the family such as one hour for kids under age 10 and one and one-half hours for older children; no electronics allowed during meal-times and log-off time one hour before bed. Obviously, no electronic devices allowed in the bedroom, including TVs, makes enforcement of limits much easier. Parents and children can set a goal, not to exceed a certain number of on-line hours per week. A fun and attractive activity agreed upon by all family members could be the reward for reaching that goal. Families could track their on-line hours per day using a simple bar graph to illustrate how close the family is getting to reaching the goal and receiving the desired pay-off.

So, once the goal is set and parents are enforcing limits on screen-time, what's next? Our goal is to help children develop a healthy, non-digital play diet. To compete with electronic games and TV, we must substitute activities which children find equally fun. Parents may have to invest money and energy to make a variety of activities available. The website gives several examples of how to structure the summer with a recurring theme for each day of the week, i.e., Make Something Monday, Try Something Tuesday, etc., with various activities suitable for rainy or sunny weather.

When screen time finally rolls around, parents have a unique opportunity to help children choose the best TV shows and games. If parents watch and/or play the games with their children they can influence those choices, as well as help children reflect on why particular games are their favorites. Discussions like these may clarify certain interests related to other activities such as coding, history, or art. In summary, taking control of screen time doesn't have to be a negative endeavor. Engaging the family in non-digital activities can be both fun and a source of greater family unity!


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It's Child's Play

Play is critical to the healthy growth and development of all children. It is the way a child learns about themselves, the people around them, their environment and their community. Through play, a child will learn how to process and make sense of what sensations he or she experiences, whether it is sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch. Play relieves stress and boredom. It lets the child connect to those around him or her in a positive way. Play also stimulates creative thinking, promotes exploration, regulates emotions and boosts confidence.

Children learn by doing at all stages in life and there are important skills at each stage to learn. New more complex skills develop out of mastery of less complex skills. Play is the child's work and they put all their energy and concentration into their efforts. It is self-motivated and builds self-efficacy. Play helps children make sense of their world through process and teaches persistence.Play stimulates creativity and cognitive development in all ages - so let's play...

St. Louis LDA offers this workshop on "The Importance of Play" and many others. For a list of workshops see our website or call 314-966-3088 for more information.

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Summer Tutoring

Now that the school year has come to an end, it is important to keep in mind the benefits of LDA's one-on-one tutoring opportunities during the summer months. Research has shown that continued work over the summer, ensures that students do not lose important educational proficiency. Without continued work, most students regress and lose a minimum of 20-30% of the skills they have obtained in the previous school year. As a result, LDA believes it is important to continue to provide your child with specialized instruction that they will need. No matter your child's age, continued tutoring throughout the summer, is important for their future success.

For more information about tutoring or to learn more about financial aid opportunities, please contact LDA at 314-966-3088.

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A 4th Grade Success Story

A fourth grade student began tutoring in July 2016. At his first tutoring session, he was scared and hid under a chair. He spent the first 20 minutes facing the corner of the room crying, refusing to communicate. Through much reassurance, he finally sat in the chair and began communicating his fears. He stated he was stupid because he could not "do math." He was unable to add simple math facts and had used a number line as an aid. Recently, his teachers had taken that away leaving him without any tool to help him.

He was introduced to TouchMath; which teaches children counting techniques based on the number of points on the shape of the numerals 1-9. Once he mastered the touch points, he learned to utilize the corresponding number of dots on the numerals to help him learn to compute basic math concepts and counting money. He has since mastered adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers with regrouping! To help him learn multiplication and division, he has learned to skip count while using touch points and tally marks. He now knows basic multiplication and division facts.

His confidence has soared and he has commented that he knows more than all of the other the students in his class. He looks forward to tutoring and the challenges he faces because he has learned strategies he can apply in math. ~Proud Tutor of a Successful 4th Grade Student

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2017 Summer Workshop Sessions

During the summer months, we offer Study Skills classes that give your 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th grade student unique tools to help him or her study in ways consistent with their own individual learning style(s). These classes will help your student improve organization, time management, self-advocacy, and develop Executive Functioning Skills. Tailored to the appropriate developmental level, our Educational Consultants present information in a variety of ways and in as much of a hands-on environment as possible.

Your son/daughter will attend 4 days of classes and come away with a material and information that will help prepare for this coming school year, and the years to come. On the 5th day of each session, we offer a parent meeting. At this meeting, you will receive an overview of everything your child was presented with as well as participate in a question and answer session with the Consultants, all of whom have degrees in special education. If you are interested in enrolling your child in one of these sessions, please call our office at 314-966-3088 or use the link below.

Summer Workshop Sessions


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