Good ol' technology. We have a love/hate relationship with our gadgets today as the ease of technology has increased... but so has technology's hold on our children. Sure, it may be super convenient to grab your iPad and look up dinner menus, but it's also easier than ever for kids to devote their free time to screens.
Instead of playing catch with the neighborhood kids or playing imaginatively in the backyard, kids sit like zombies in front of screens. Whether it's the television, an iPad, or mom's cell phone, there's no denying children have a strong affection for today's technology.
This doesn't have to be the case anymore. After all, kids are still kids, and they still enjoy the simple things in life. Bike rides, finger painting, and playdates are all great ways to motivate your youngster to embrace a screen-free life! Or at least encourage them to step away from the iPad for awhile...
10 Go For After Dinner Bike Rides Or Walks
This may seem like a simple idea, but it's a great one. If you find yourself and your kids struggling to avoid screen time in the space between dinner and bedtime, go for a walk! It's a fun way to bond as an entire family, get some exercise, and keep the iPad turned off.
Plus, kids usually love going for walks or riding their bikes around the block, so it shouldn't take much to entice them into this screen-avoiding activity!
9 Visit The Library
What better way to encourage your child to spend less time watching YouTube videos on repeat than a fun outing to the local library?! Not only is the library filled with tons of books for kids to rummage through, but it's also free!
This is a win-win situation for parents and children alike as picking out new books helps foster reading skills, reduce iPad and TV time, and gives your child something to look forward to each week. Some libraries even have books for sale for incredibly cheap bargains!
8 Encourage Them To Be Artistic
There are so many cool art activities for kids today that it's almost a shame to not give them a try! From paint by sticker books to even taking art classes, kids have a lot of artistic options. These options also mean spending less time staring at a screen!
The beauty of childhood includes the freedom to be creative and not worry about how great the art turns out, so encourage your children to express themselves! This can be through finger painting, chalk, or even making fun projects with materials found around the house. It's hard to play on an iPad or phone when you have paint all over your hands!
7 Listen To Music
We all remember the days before iTunes and iPods when CDs and the radio were just about the only way to listen to your favorite songs.
It's time to revisit this simpler way of life! Instead of watching videos, simply put on a playlist of your child's favorite songs in the background and let them relax sans screen time. You may be surprised at how good their dance skills get!
6 Take Playtime Outside
Sure, it's 2019 and you may not want your kids playing outside unsupervised, but making time for outdoor activities is a great way to keep them off their iPads.
Schedule a playdate and have your kids and their friends frolicking in the backyard with bubbles, chalk, or water balloons. Kids do still enjoy these timeless activities! Or make a quick trip to the park after dinner and let them run off some energy. They may be too tired to even think about playing games on your phone when they get home after such a fun evening!
5 Have Playdates
If you find your kid spends the most time staring at screens in the evenings and on weekends, then playdates are a great way to change up this routine! Have a friend over after school to work on homework together or form a reading group. On weekends, have park playdates.
This not only allows parents to socialize together, but is also free and requires very little as the kids will keep each other entertained. They will forget iPads even exist as they play tag and race around the playground.
4 Create Reward Charts For Earning Screen Time
Reducing the amount of time your child spends playing on iPads and phones doesn't mean they can never enjoy a bit of screen time.
However, creating a reward system can help drastically reduce the time they spend watching videos and playing games online. Introduce a chart to allow them to earn a specified amount of time. For example, they get an hour of screen time after completing 10 chores. Not only will this naturally limit how often they're sitting in front of a screen, but also teaches some responsibility no matter how young they are!
3 Spend Time Talking During Meals Instead Of Watching TV
This one may be a bit tricky as eating dinner sans TV time can be hard even for adults, but it's so worth it. Dinner may be the only time your family actually sits down together without distractions, so it's a great idea to make the most of it!
This means having a no screens at dinner rule. Sure, it may take some getting used to, but we promise you won't miss those shows when they are replaced with hearing your kids engage in conversation!
2 Set Up Scavenger Hunts
If you find you have a bit of time on your hands and your kid is about to drive you crazy asking for the iPad, suggest a scavenger hunt instead! It'll only take you a few minutes to draw up a few clues as they search for a treasure!
The key to this is having the treasure be something they can do, such as an art set or board game they like playing with siblings or with you. That way, when they do find the treasure they have forgotten all about screen time and are now excited to play Connect Four (or any other game) with you!
1 Invest In Puzzles And Boardgames
You can never go wrong with a good puzzle! Invest in a few based on your child's interest.
When they are longing to watch the iPad again and again, simply break out a puzzle and begin! More than likely, seeing their parent doing the puzzle will entice them to join in.