When we were kids the technology was not as developed as it is today. Mobile phones used to have keypads and we didn’t have the luxury of a personal phone. But today, our kids have the technology of smartphones as well as the luxury of owning a phone. As good as it is considering the online classes, it is equally bad.
We all understand the stress and impact of sitting in front of our computer attending meetings and working from home. It strains our eyes so much that we get dark circles, weak eyesight, red eyes and this list can go on and on. Now think about your 4-year-old sitting in for online classes and then spending the rest of the time playing video games or watching cartoons. According to research, the average screen time of kids these days has reached up to 7.5 hours daily.
After looking at these statistics, one can say that we really need to look for activities that divert kids from television or computer games. Following is a list of many such activities that will help you make your munchkin more active.
- Board Games: If you think about it, board games not only provide the benefit of reduced screen time but adds values to your kid like, team work, patience and family bonding. Games like snake and ladder, ludo, monopoly, etc are loved by the kids of all generations. If your kid is old enough to play chess, you can try that as well.
- Chores: When you ask your kids to help you out with your chores they will gain a sense of responsibility. They will feel included and will gain the values of being a helping hand in the household. It will go a long way for them. Meanwhile, it will distract them from the screen.
- Craft: Kids love craft and making things. You can take up easy projects weekly and make them work on small parts like painting, pasting and even cutting if they are old enough. You can print out coloring sheets for them and this will keep them busy for hours, or just buy them a coloring book.
- Reading time: Reading is not just a good distraction from watching television but also adds to a great quality. Reading books helps with overall development in a child and opens them up to various ideas, thoughts and curious questions. Make a reading corner in your house with no phones allowed and make sure to sit there for about 20 minutes daily in the beginning. Once your kids discover the world of books they will not want to leave the place.
- Picnics: Going out on a bright sunny day with mouth watering food and your family is the best way to spend time together without watching television. You can play games like I Spy, catch, softball, and many more such games. Narrate those stories you have read or tales from your childhood.
Even though these are some good ways that will keep your child away from television and video games, they also need some rules to follow.
- You are their ideal, they will follow your steps in everything you do, therefore you need to be disciplined. Avoid spending too much time on mobile phones or watching television.
- Be strict about screen time but let your kids have a say about when they want to watch the television or play the game they want. For example, if they say that they want to watch a movie at noon and not in the evening let them do so, but make sure to limit screen time in the evening.
- No phones or television one hour before bed. This is a non-negotiable rule and you must follow it too in order for your kid to listen to you.
- Homework before cartoons or video games. This will ensure that they are studying before getting too exhausted by the screen time. This will also act as a form to help them avoid watching too much television or playing games.
Cutting down on screen time is not as difficult as it looks like. You need to be creative, rewarding and patient for everything to work. But more than any of these you need to be self disciplined. If you are not doing what you expect your kids to do then they are not going to listen to you. Be what you want your kids to be.
If you have some special tricks up your sleeve make sure to comment them down below so the rest of us can use them too.