Whether you are a working parent or one who stays home, the dreadful words – “I am bored”, which mostly means ‘I want a screen’, have now become more problematic than just frustrating.
If you are reading this article and trying to find ways to wean your child off screen, this article can help you.
So roll up your sleeves and get on it!
- Reading books. Kids always like to listen to stories, because they can build their own imaginations. For them, it’s like a superpower they have possessed. But this habit will only develop slowly and steadily. You will have to spend a few nights reading them interesting stories to build their interest. Later on, the encouragement will motivate them to do it themselves. A great step would be to build a small reading corner in the house. There are ample age-appropriate books out there. Just go for those with colorful illustrations as kids are more attracted to that.
- Keep a printer available with tons of pages. The internet is filled with worksheets for all age groups. Be it puzzles or hardcore study materials in the form of quite interesting worksheets, everything is available. Keep the pressure of making them study aside and just let them do it based on their own understanding as kids tend to lose interest soon. Only give them the kind of worksheets they would love to do. My son loves maze puzzles and counting objects worksheets whereas my daughter loves to paint. So I don’t argue with them and give them what they want. They easily keep busy for an hour or two and the screen is out of their active minds.
- Set the Screen-time routine. To wean a child off-screen time, it is essential to schedule their screen time. So rather than giving it at any time they ask, or when you feel you are too occupied to entertain, it’s better to keep a fixed time as ‘screen-time’. Other than the duration they spend watching the screen, it is also very helpful to ascertain that they can only watch when it is ‘screen time’’.
- Evenings should be outdoors. In today’s day and age, kids have limited their time outdoors so much that it’s actually disturbing. Evenings should be out in nature, under the blue sky. There are numerous benefits of playing outdoors, both physical and psychological. Researchers have constantly provided proof that kids playing some amount of time outside are more relaxed, happier, and less anxious. Playtime also helps young children build their emotional and social capabilities, along with developing their brains, by enhancing creative thinking, language, vocabulary, and overall intelligence.
- Cards or board games times. Uno or highest number card games, memory card games, and puzzle making are some of the best indoor games to keep my kids occupied for a good amount of time. Besides being a great idea to wean a child off screen, playing board games teaches kids the value of teamwork and focus. It stimulates the brain and also teaches them how to be good losers. Card games have also been associated with the development of fine motor skills, and boost memory and problem-solving skills.
- Podcasts. As mentioned earlier kids love stories. But reading every time might not be their favorite thing to do. In those situations, podcasts are a lifesaver. There are many podcast channels on the internet where there are all sorts of age-appropriate stories for kids to listen to. A great idea to wean a child off screen!
- Keep your own gadgets at bay. A child is the biggest imitator. If they see you busy on your phone or tab all day, they will be intrigued too. Hence, introspection is the key. If you are spending too much time on the phone, you will need to curb that. At least don’t do it in front of your children. I understand that parents working from home can find this challenging, but kids eventually understand whether you are working or just watching reels on insta. However, if you engage your kids in any of the other ideas mentioned in this article, you will have the time to sit peacefully and do your work with minor distractions.
- Make them involved in your own chores. Chores can be an interesting play for kids at home and a great idea to wean a child off screen. For example, my kids love hanging clothes to dry and picking them up later with me. When working in the kitchen, they want to sometimes take utensils and cook their imaginary food. I am okay with everything till the time they are safe and not bothering me.
- Making cards or other craft activities. This one is my personal favorite. Small children love to pamper you or find ways to shower love on you. Ask them to make a card for you or their Daddy or teacher or friends or their imaginary friends, they will just leave everything and start doing it. Make sure to keep a lot of crafts stuff at home such as glitters, an ample amount of stickers, and A4 sheets. To wean a child off screen, get colored papers, sketch pens, and scissors and let them make all sorts of crafts.
- Pretend Plays. If you have a single kid or many, role-playing or pretend plays can be a very interesting idea to wean a kid off screen. Just suggest them a scenario or a fairy tale they know, and ask them to enact and do a play. However silly it might be to you, once they get engrossed, they totally enjoy it. After all, that’s how the girls of the famous classic ‘The Little Women’ kept themselves occupied during the era of no TVs.
Hopefully, this article helps quite a few parents who are pulling their hair in search of some rescue. Happy Parenting! 🙂