Remember the times when we used to play fun games in our childhood? You know, that time in our lives when these electronic gadgets hadn’t taken over the world yet? Good old days. We used to come home from school, finish our homework in a hurry so that we could go outside to meet our friends and play; games like hopscotch, hide and seek, playing with our dolls or going to the park and wait for our turn on the swings. (Seems like I’m talking about another era :D)
But times have changed. Technology has taken over and today’s children are more advanced. They even know how to use all these electronic gadgets better than we do. For instance, my ten year old daughter tells me how to use the new filters on Snapchat and my three year old son knows where to find the games on the tablet. And honestly, every time he uses the tablet or my cellphone, I feel terribly sad and guilty. It’s unhealthy and it’s unnatural. Therefore, I came up with these 10 ideas to limit their screen time:
- Build structures with Lego/blocks
My 3 kids love playing with Legos and blocks. In all fairness, every kid in the world loves Legos. Sometimes even adults! Both my daughters get extremely creative and they can spend hours building doll houses with Legos. As for my 3 year old son, he loves to make big towers with the blocks and gets really dramatic when the tower crashes (he has a flair for drama). He could do this a hundred times.
2.Build a fort
This is another way for the kids to explore their minds and get creative. If your kids are old enough then allow them to set up the fort according to their imagination. With younger kids, you can help them make one with cardboard boxes or put a linen sheet over 3 wooden sticks and decorate it with fancy pillows and twinkly lights and put their favorite toys inside. They would spend hours pretending prince or princesses.
When you go to the bookstore, let your children choose a book for themselves. Like when my second daughter was learning how to read, I helped her choose one of those “Easy to Read” beginner level books. Now she can read quite well and when we go to the bookstore, I just tell her the section to choose from and she selects her own books. For my 3 year old I buy big books with a lot of pictures and very little text, or one of those cute books with the sound effects and music that plays when you flip the pages.
Another great way and highly recommended way to spend some quality time with the kids. Make cupcakes and ask them to help out! They could put ingredients into the bowls and help mix the batter and at the end, they always love to decorate the frosting with some sprinkles. You can also try making pizza. Each kid gets to make his own pizza. You can put everything in front of them and ask them put the pizza sauce themselves and the toppings according to their liking. You can also tell them your childhood stories while you are cooking/baking with them.
Head out to your backyard or to your nearest park and let them play on the swings and slides, or just run like there’s no tomorrow. There are a lot more benefits to physical activity than you might think! Physical benefits aside, children are more happy and easy-going after a good visit to the park. You can take your bicycles to the park and ride along with them. Or you can also play badminton, enjoy a game of Frisbee, throw and catch the ball. Another fun thing to do is bring a picnic in the park with the kids’ favorite snacks.
6.Arts and crafts
Painting, crafting for dolls, or just give them some plastic bottle caps, tissue rolls and some egg cartons; you will be surprised how kids use their imagination and make amazing masterpieces.
Children are always interested in gown up’s activities. So, the next time when you’re gardening in your backyard or if you are watering your indoor plants, ask your children to lend you a hand (don’t forget to make it sound like a fun task!). They could help you change the soil and maybe fetch some water in the watering can. You can also give some basic information about gardening and how plants grow.
8.Play indoor games
There are lots of ideas for indoor games like Simon Says, I Spy, board games like Monopoly and Scrabble, and card games like UNO. Playing indoor games is a great idea when you are tired and you want the kids to play quietly. While the kids are playing you can join them or just watch them and cherish these moments.
9.Zumba for kids
This works for me all the time. My 3 kids just love doing Zumba for Kids, which I think is a great way to use their energy and stay physically active. Just search “Zumba for Kids” and you’ll find a ton of videos on YouTube. My 3 year old doesn’t know how to follow, so he just copies his sisters 😀 It’s always so much fun watching them doing the Zumba. And the fun part is you can join them and they will love you for it.
10.Give them chores
I often ask my kids to help me in different chores, like help me clean up the room or clean the dining table or take out the garbage bags or help me put the groceries away. And when I fold the laundry, I arranged everyone’s separate piles so that they can put them into their cupboard easily. You can give them tasks according to their age which they can do easily. And at the end you give them a big hug or a big cheer to appreciate their effort when they are finished.
I know we cannot stop our kids from using electronic gadgets completely, especially in today’s day and age where everything is digitalized and online. But we can deviate them with these activities and moderate their device usage. Remember, children follow what they see. We as parents can set examples by unplugging these electronic devises and replace screen time to face time.
Toys can be replaced, so can the cartoons and the video games, but the only thing children cannot replace is the time which they spend with their parents; the time which they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Did you enjoy the post? Don’t forget to share it to your mum friends. Did you try any of these tips? Did you enjoy your time with your kids? Do you have some more ideas? Tell us in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!