As the years go by, screens are becoming more and more common. Giant digital screens are present in our homes, cars, restaurants, and even schools. We live in a digital world, and though there are some benefits to that, it’s not uncommon for parents to feel concerned about the amount of time children spend in front of screens.
Thankfully, there are plenty of fun and easy ways to keep your kids engaged and away from their phone or tablet. Let’s check out 10 of our favorites!
We can’t expect our kids to have less screen time if we’re constantly looking at screens ourselves. Practice engaging in less screen time throughout your day, especially while around your kids.
We know it’s easier said than done, especially depending on your line of work, but try to have a shut-off time for screens yourself. Don’t check emails, call clients, or fill your calendar after a certain time of the day. Your kids will notice your limited usage and this will make it easier for them to do the same.
The great outdoors is a naturally stimulating environment. While outside, your kids will have access to different smells, textures, colors, and fresh air. Best of all, your kids will always experience something new while outside. Even if you visit the exact same park, beach, or lake, something will be different. The trees will change during different seasons, the clarity of the water will shift with each day, the sand may feel warmer or cooler.
If you don’t have a neighborhood park nearby or a big yard, gardening is a great way to get your kids outdoors. You don’t need much space to have a small but mighty garden, and the act of gardening will teach your kids responsibility and give them an appreciation for food. Aside from gardening, your kids can also walk or bike around your neighborhood for time outside.
For most kids, reading is fun and exciting. For others, it may not seem that appealing — and that’s okay. You can encourage your kids to spend more time reading by incorporating developmental toys into storytime.
Toys can make a story come alive and make what might have been a boring experience fun and engaging. Gather your toys, put on a costume, and make your kids’ favorite stories come to life!
Decrease screen time in your household by exploring. Take your kids on road trips, staycations, and mini-vacations often. Don’t worry — this doesn’t have to be something super expensive. Simply driving 30 minutes in a direction you don’t usually visit can make all the difference. Naturally stimulate your kids by exposing them to new sights and environments as often as possible.
Avoid having televisions in your children’s bedrooms. Limit TV time to living rooms and other common areas. It’s good to have a “bedtime screen time” schedule. If you allow your children to have laptops and cell phones in the bedroom, make it a rule that at a certain time they must be turned in to you or shut off and put away. This will allow your children to naturally unwind and get settled for bed.
Arts and crafts are a classic way to encourage no-screen stimulation. These activities allow children to be creative and explore their imaginations in a safe and healthy way. We’ll list some examples of arts and crafts activities that you may want to try with your kids:
Make arts and crafts even more exciting by displaying your kids’ art around the house. They’ll feel appreciated, acknowledged, and proud!
Get your kids involved with creating their own meals by inviting them into the kitchen. Allowing your kids to help cook their own food will boost their confidence, as well as make them more motivated to eat. Cooking is an especially great activity for picky eaters. Seeing exactly how their food is prepared may make them feel more comfortable with their meals.
Remember when we mentioned gardening a bit earlier? Yup, this is definitely a full-circle moment. Have your kids harvest food that they’ve grown from their garden and prepare it for dinner.
All of the above points are naturally stimulating. However, taking things to the next step is still a fun and safe way to keep your kids engaged and away from screens. Purchase or even DIY a few of the following brain games for your kids:
Let your kids experiment with fun science, technology, and engineering kits. There are plenty of kits like these available for all age groups. Enjoy a front-row seat of the future while watching your kids participate in experiments that are educational and fun.
If you’re not feeling up for it, then you don’t need to purchase a kit. Spend a few minutes doing research on simple experiments you can do in the kitchen or backyard. Either way, your kids will love it. Below are some experiments that you can do at home with just a few materials:
Our last and final point is to relax. When it comes to parenting, there will definitely be some days that are easier than others. Don’t spend too much stressing about having a magazine-worthy “no screen time” routine.
Some days you’ll have the energy to do DIY experiments, visit the park, and take a road trip. Other days, you won’t. And that’s okay. On days when you’re tired, just allow your kids to play freely and let things flow naturally. There’s nothing wrong with kids leading the way sometimes. Take things one step and one day at a time!
Author Bio: Gabi Bellairs is a freelance writer and copy strategist who has worked with a range of different companies and individuals over the course of her career. Her interests lie in travel, from her times exploring South Africa, as well as events and even DIY, but she is also passionate about gender equality and progressive mental health practices.
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