Screens, what would we do without them? When our days are busy and our kids are at home with us, handing them a phone or iPad to play with can be an irresistibly simple solution. While a limited amount of screen time for children is fine, research has shown that too much screen time can have some very negative impacts on adults and children alike, including difficulty sleeping and concentrating, a physical strain on the eyes and posture, and even screen addiction. Breaking out of the phone habit can be quite difficult, but to assist in this transition, here are 5 fun, alternative activities to a phone.
1. Put on some Music
Every child has a favourite song. After the initial tantrum when the phone is taken away, plug it into a speaker, get your child to pick a song that makes them smile, and let them dance it out. This might sound silly, and it might only be a temporary solution, but even disrupting that screen time for a little while helps your child break out of the habit and remember other activities.
2. Do some Baking
If you have some spare time, baking with your child is always a fun activity. Although it can be messy, and does require supervision, it’s a great way to get your child fully engaged with a task and distracted from their screens! Banana muffins are a fun and easy idea – and a great way to use up brown bananas.
3. Make a Fort
Give your child some cardboard boxes, blankets and a pile of pillows and they’ll be entertained for hours. It’s amazing how much kids enjoy building forts and cubby houses. This activity is great because it can take place in doors, will keep your child occupied and entertained, and requires little supervision.
4. Run a Bath
Water, bubbles, and a whole bunch of your child’s favourite (waterproof) toys! Kids love playing in the bath, and with fun toys and a mound of bubbles to play with, they’ll forget all about the iPad! The only important issue to remember with this activity, obviously, is safety. Ensure that the bath is shallow, and keep a close eye on your child – close supervision is particularly important in younger children.
Perhaps the most simple, effective, independent activity for children to distract them from their screens is drawing. Colouring books, plenty of paper, and pencils or crayons are all that’s required for a fun, creative and screen-free time. Not only will your child be happy drawing away quietly for ages, but creativity itself reaps many benefits for their imagination and brain development. Painting and other art and craft activities are also great but require a bit more supervision.
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