Tips for Less Screen Time at Home
Laura Standefer, Senior Screen Time Correspondent
March 2, 2020
Spring Break is coming up and summer will be here before you know it. I don’t know about you, but screen time management has always been so hard for me, especially during long breaks from school. In an age of constant entertainment, how do we scale back on our most entertaining gadgets? Especially when our kids are driving us crazy at home for weeks at a time. Here are some tips I’ve learned to help encourage everyone to live screen-free…at least for a little while.
My husband loves to blast music on the largest speakers we own (sorry, neighbors). For some reason, if we have music playing (especially loud music), it’s easier for us not to think about turning on the TV or watching videos on our gadgets. My son also loves having dance parties and making up his own choreography to our song collection, but of course, kids love listening to their own stuff. Turning on “Baby Shark” may be the last thing you want to do, but it might be worth it if it gets your kid off the couch and moving their bodies.
Since my son is all about YouTube Kids and video games, I honestly didn’t think he would be interested in board games. I recently saw a version of my favorite childhood board game, Trouble, on sale at the store and I brought it home to play with my family. I was pleasantly surprised when my son saw it and said, “I’ve seen that game on Youtube!” (facepalm). We’ve been playing it several times a week, along with some other classics such as Operation and the Hatchimals version of Candy Land. Your kids may be more interested in board games than you think and it’s a great way to turn off the electronics and spend time with the family.
I know, I sound like a grandma when I talk about how we used to play outside back in my day. I remember the excitement of ringing doorbells to see if my friends could come out to play and how we used to ride our bikes down steep hills to achieve dangerously fast speeds. I’ve recently started to make my child go outdoors and ride his scooter or to make some art using sidewalk chalk. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many of the neighbor kids he’s gotten to know just by being outside readily available to play and interact. It’s taken several years, but he’s finally at a point where he WANTS to play instead of watching TV. I honestly thought that this day would never come.
Crafts and Kits
We shouldn’t feel as if we are constantly needing to entertain our children, but simply having materials available to help kids get creative can be extremely helpful with staying away from screen-time. My son knows that there is always a drawer full of pompoms, pipe cleaners, and markers available if he gets bored. However, if you’re one of those parents that like to take things to the next level, you may want to look into subscription boxes that provide hands-on projects and building kits. This Christmas my son got a subscription to KiwiCo and he is having a blast working on his monthly project with his dad.