Getting your kids to put down their electronics is a daily battle if you’re anything like me. From the moment they wake up, they’re looking for their tablet or watching T.V. More than a few times, I’ve looked the other way because I had work to do or I just wanted to enjoy the quiet. What if there are better alternatives that will keep your kids happy and entertained without using a screen to keep their attention?
I’ve put together a list of five alternatives to screen time for your kids to enjoy. However, don’t get discouraged if it takes them a while to adjust. Electronics are addictive, and like any addiction, there is a detox period you have to go through. If your kids fight you at first, be strong and don’t give up. Soon they’ll get used to using their imaginations again, and you’ll find the screens aren’t their go-to activity anymore!
- Play Outside
Depending on where you live, getting your kids outside is so important. Not only will they get some much-needed vitamin D, but they also get exercise, which keeps their body and mind healthy. First, quick story-time – when I first tried to get my boys to play outside, it was admittedly a disaster. I’m ashamed to admit they hadn’t spent much time outdoors, partly because we live in Florida, and it’s hot and somewhat because they would complain about being bored, and I would give in.
This time though, I was determined to make them stay out there. Did they knock on the door and tell me they were “soooo bored?” Yes. Did I dig my heels in and stick to it? Also yes! Sure enough, after a few minutes, they realized their mean mom wasn’t giving in, and they were playing and jumping on the trampoline and having a great time. Pretty soon, they were running outside as soon as they got home. Score one for mean old mom!
Give making your kids play outside a try. It worked when we were kids, and watching ipads, and flat screens weren’t an option. Let your kids rediscover their imagination and find joy in being outside.
- Play A Board Game
The name says it all; board games are perfect for when your kids are bored. Let them battle it out in Monopoly or hone their skills with Operation. Their competitive sides can shine through, and they can bond with each other as they spend quality face-to-face time together. If you have a single child, and you have time, why not play with them? It’s so much fun to see their personalities shine through and hear how their minds work.
- Read A Book
Reading seems to be a dying art with kids now. They are throwing away the pages in favor of bright lights and loud noises. Kid’s imaginations can run wild when they get lost in a book. Let them discover foreign lands or solve mysteries. Maybe they like to learn new facts or find funny jokes. Whatever their interests, there are books to help develop them. If your kids aren’t used to reading, let them start small. The more they read, the easier it will be, and they will want to keep at it. Plus, a book will never run out of battery or have to get turned down.
- Put Together A Puzzle
Puzzles are a great way to help a kid whose mind seems to race at a million miles an hour. They help develop focus and concentration, and when they finish them, they feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Just like reading, start small. Try a fifty-piece puzzle first and go up from there. Feel free to join in on the fun. You can even glue your puzzle together and frame it after, so your child can show everyone what they accomplished!
- Create Something
Whether drawing a picture, making jewelry, or building a Lego fort, try telling your kids to surprise you with what they put together. They’ll enjoy making a game out of coming up with the most creative idea, and they won’t even realize they’re not staring at their electronics anymore!
It can be a challenge getting your kids away from the screen at first, but soon you will find they don’t miss them at all. Try having them play outside or with a board game, read a book or put a puzzle together, or use their imagination to create something unique. In the long run, your kids will be better for it.