We are in the middle of summer…at least by the calendar. Although lately, it has felt quite like fall here in Chicago. Over the past several weeks, I have had a few parents call me for guidance on how to handle that their child or teen seems to be spending a great deal of time on the computer, in front of the TV, etc. during this summer academic holiday. Even with camps, vacations and other activities, summer definitely allows for more free time than during the school year. So, how can you get your child to turn off their gadgets?

1. Be realistic. Technology is here to stay. We can not and should not ban it from our lives. The key is finding balance.

2. Set a good example. If you don’t want your teen texting at dinner, you shouldn’t be either.

3. Get outside. Take advantage of free concerts and events throughout the city and suburbs. Most weekends here in Chicago, there are so many events that I am often conflicted as to which to attend. And if you live in a smaller area, just take a walk. This can be good family time.

4. Establish limits. Set guidelines for when, for how long and for what purpose your child or teen can use the computer, television, etc.

5. Plan a family project. Get your family working together on a goal. Clean out the garage and have a yard sale. Plant a vegetable garden. Repaint your teen’s room.

Remember, technology has become an integral parts of our daily lives. At times, it’s hard to remember when we didn’t have such modern conveniences and technology definitely enhances our lives in many ways. Yet we should not be spending more time on the computer than we are actually interacting in-person with each other. So use the above tips to help your child or teen find balance.