If you have kids there is no doubt, during the winter especially, that they have been requesting to spend hours glued to their screens. We do it too, I know I am guilty of the “Just a sec,” response when I’m busy looking at Instagram and the kids ask for something. If it’s hard for us to jump out of the digital world, just imagine being 5 when the lines between fantasy and reality are already blurred. Add to the mix a super-engaging, colourful, fun, immersive experience. Or you’re 8 and you’ve almost finished building something amazing in Minecraft. Why would you ever want to stop?
So what can you do to get your kids away from screens more?
For starters, you’ll probably just have to put your foot down and set times that they can and cannot use bits of technology. You obviously shouldn’t be too strict because they’ll have that hint of bitterness and unfulfillment about them, but set times are the right way to go. They might bite back at first, but sooner or later they’ll become at one with the routine they’ve been put into.
Up until a certain age, your kids will literally do as you do. They look up to you. If you behave a certain way, then they’ll follow suit. It is how it’s always been and how it always will be. If you want to sit indoors, scrolling away on your phone, then they’ll want to copy you. Either that or they’ll think it’s the norm. Set a good example by picking up a book instead of your phone and encourage the important skill of reading. Or learn a new craft like crochet or go old school with jigsaws.
Get them excited about things like crafts and playing board games together. It might be hard to convince them at first, but you’ll get it if you keep at it. For crafting you can print colouring pages on topics they are interested in like their favourite characters or places american flag svg. Link the activities you are doing to the time of year, there are so many different Christmas crafts and activities you can do inside, wreath svg. There are so many different family board games that you can play together and they are great for encouraging early maths and literacy skills to teaching startegy and learning patience.
Make family meals a time when screens are off and everyone is focused on eating and interacting with each other. Break the cycle of having the tv on in the background or electronic devices in hand and make meals a time that is always screen-less. Research has shown that meals without screens result in better relationships. You can also use the opportunity to encourage the kids to get involved in helping you to cook the dinner or bake something as a treat for pudding. Baking and cooking is a great indoor activity to do together when the weather isn’t great.