Family Life

10 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Put Down Their Screens and Get Outside Instead

Technology has become so commonplace in our everyday lives that it can be difficult to remember how important it is to unplug. Between smartphones, video games, TVs, tablets, and laptops, it’s just so easy for kids to spend too much time in front of screens.

The rule in our house is no screens during the week, but when school lets out for summer it’s easy for the rules to slide a bit (or a lot). Fortunately, the summer months also offer the perfect weather and opportunity to get the kids out from behind their screens and outside to play. If you’re looking to limit screen time this summer, here are 10 smart tips you can institute to encourage your kids to put down the tech and get outside instead.

1. Set a Good Example

If you want your children to unplug and get outside, it’s important that you do the same. Your children will emulate your behaviour far more than they’ll listen to what you tell them. Actions speak louder than words so put down the technology and get outside yourself. Go have fun together!

2. Make Outside Time Family Time

Whether you take the family on a hike or a bike ride, or simply move your family game night to the backyard, there are lots of ways to take your family time outside. Make it a summer ritual to take advantage of the great outdoors as often as possible, especially while attempting to break the technology habit.

3. Create an Outdoor Bucket List

A great way to get the kids off their screens and outside this summer is to create a bucket list. Sit down with your kids and create an list of outdoor activities and events they want to experience before they go back to school. This will give them plenty of things to do this summer and motivate them to get outside and get active so they can check these items off their lists.

4. Set a Schedule

It’s unlikely that you will entirely eliminate technology time from your summer schedule, but you can certainly set some ground rules to limit it. Create a schedule for your children to abide by with set times they are permitted to use their screens. Post it somewhere central so you and the kids can refer to it as needed.

5. Set Conditions for Tech Time

Aside from creating a schedule, you can also set tasks or chores for your children to complete before allowing screen time. For example, you can ask them to clean their rooms, read for 30 minutes, or spend at least an hour outside playing outside before turning on their game console. Setting these boundaries will help to limit the time they spend inside playing on their technology.

6. Enroll Them in Sports

Sign your kids up for outdoor sports. Not only will this get them outside, but it’ll give them the chance to get active, learn teamwork, make new friends, and learn new skills.

7. Sign Them Up for Summer Camp

Summer camps can provide your kids with a fantastic opportunity to ditch the tech, get outdoors, and meet new people. While some camps can be pricey, many school districts and community centres provide more budget-friendly or free summer camp experiences for your children as well. Research summer camps in your area and get your kids spending time outside, meeting new friends, and creating new memories.

8. Encourage Them to get Messy

Despite the extra baths and laundry, it’s important to let your kids get messy. If it’s raining, encourage them to go dance in the rain and splash in the puddles. When the weather is nice, send them out to make mud pies, roll in the grass, or climb a tree. Giving your children the freedom to get dirty will encourage them to get outdoors more often.

9. Show Them They Can Make Money

If your children are a bit older, a great way to encourage them to get outside is to show them there’s some extra money to be made. Have them set up a lemonade stand, mow lawns, or weed gardens. Teaching your children that getting outdoors can help them make some extra money is a fantastic motivator.

10. Stick with It

Remember at the end of the day, you are the parent and you set the rules. Yes, it might be tough at first. Your children may be resistant to sudden limitations on their use of technology, but it’s important to remain consistent. They will eventually accept the new routine and get used to their summer technology schedule.

Try these tips to help change the way your kids view tech-free time. Just remember to be consistent and stick with it. It might be difficult in the beginning, but your kids will come around when they realize how much fun can be had in the great outdoors this summer!

Leave a Comment


  • Great ideas. I personally prefer that my little one spend time outside or reading or playing games over screen time so she doesn’t have a tablet or computer or her own.

  • Call me old school but I believe in playing outside in the fresh air (barring weather) all the time. I was not raised with tech (Im 50) and my son wasn’t either. The amount of time I see my grandchildren in front of the TV or the oldest on his tablet makes me wanna scream. When I visit, the kids are outside. No screens until the end of the day. It’s outside playing and getting dirty. Don’t get me wrong, Im not forceful or mean about it LOL but I find once they get outside and their minds are on other things, they forget about the tablet etc. Of course, when we go out, no tech comes along. I bring my phone but that is just in case I need to call someone or snap a cute photo. I never use it while Im out for anything else. No texting – nothing.

  • Such great ideas and tips! So important for kids to have fun without looking at screens all the time!

  • These are some great tips! These days it’s so easy for a child to sit in front of a computer or TV screen. I love to see kids outside playing .

  • Kids these days do not spend enough time outdoors, they need to get out and get some fresh air and exercise

  • Great tips! We are working on a schedule and leading by example and putting our phones away more this summer.

  • These are all great tips! My children where limit on screen time when they were groing up and so are my granddaughters. So much to do out there, great tips!

  • Nice ideas to try. My son is not fond of going outside either. But he’d rather stay at home painting papers. I’m gonna let his father make the first move as a good example and I will catch up too!