Screen time is becoming an issue these days with children and even babies. Turning the TV on or giving your child your phone or an iPad can be an easy solution in our busy lives. Being a parent can be hard; we are trying to do it all. However ,screen time can cause long term issues when children have too much of it.
- Behavioral issues
I am going to go through some fun, educational activities you can do with your child to decrease screen time. If your child is a bit older you can set them up with these activities while you get house chores done or some work.
1. Use Your Imagination
With some paper and markers you can create so many fun things!
- Paper airplanes
- Roll of paper (tape to the floor and create)
- Homemade cards
- Create art to decorate their room with
- Mosaic Art
If your child likes more sensory type activities this would be a great time to pull out playdough, modeling clay or even kinetic sand. Give them small cars and action figures and let them build and use their imagination.
2. Get Outside
Exercise is the absolute best thing for us all. Our bodies need it to stay healthy and we all sleep so much better when we are active. Get outside and take the dog for a walk or even go for a bike ride. If the weather is not cooperating this would be a great day to head to your local library or even a local museum.
- Obstacle courses
- Water play/water table
- Mud kitchen fun (give them pans, utensils)
- Make a peanut butter or sunbutter bird feeder
- Garden together
- Put together a ‘carwash’ for all their toys
3. Board Games/Puzzles
Board games and puzzles get your mind really working. Being in front of the screen for long periods of time is not beneficial for your mind. Puzzles are a wonderful educational activity! Make sure your child’s age is appropriate for the puzzle they are doing. You don’t want them to get frustrated; you want them to have fun and feel proud completing the puzzle! Here are some of our favorite games.
- Hungry Hippo
- Candy Land
- Matching card games
Set aside reading time, whether they read to themselves or you read to them. Once the book is finished talk about it, discuss their favorite character and maybe they can dress up and act out an activity from the book. They could also create a fun project with with the book. Our favorite book to do activities with is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Here are a bunch of fun activity ideas related to the book!
5. Bake Cookies or Healthy Snacks
Baking can be a wonderful thing to do with your kids. You are teaching them how to measure and you are counting. They also get to help, and it gives them an accomplishment when they get to eat what THEY make! Have them count the scoops and when making cupcakes or muffins have them line the muffin tins and count them as they go in. This recipe is our go too when baking with the kids, these muffins are a huge hit. As an extra bonus try to go blueberry picking leading up to baking!
Avoiding Screen Time
When you are able to give your children plenty of fun options to the take the place of the screen time, they will see how much fun it is to be creative and learn. Here are a few tips to keep the screen away.
- Do not let your child have full access to it
- Set the timer
- Give them warnings when the screen time is almost done
- Set boundaries early on
These five educational activities can be adjusted by your child’s age and interests. Have fun with it and let your child learn and be creative! For more fun try these math games and alphabet activities.
About The Author
Jaclyn Capilli has over 10 years experience working with children. After graduating from Curry College with her Bachelor Degree she worked as a paraprofessional in a special need’s classroom. Then while in Graduate school at Cambridge College she nannied for a local family for 3 years. After moving back to the South Shore she worked for Head Start for 5 plus years while nannying for a local family. She is now a mother of two and is working for Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny. She owns Jaclyn Nicole Photography, a photography business in the South Shore. In her free time she likes reading, going for hikes and making memories with her daughters.