‘Screen time’ might sound like one of those parenting buzz words but what does it actually mean? And why and how can you limit the time your child spends in front of the TV, a tablet or phone?
We’ve all been there – you just need a break to get dinner going or 5 minutes to sit and drink a cup of tea before dinner and bath time starts. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend no more than an hour of screen time per day – and sometimes – let’s be honest, we need a little bit of help to keep our children entertained.
Here are 3 alternatives to screen time that will keep your little one busy for a few extra minutes.
Here are 3 alternatives to screen time that will keep your busy body busy for a few extra minutes.
1. Play dough with background nursery rhymes
Put your toddler in his/her high-chair in the kitchen while you are busy cooking. Give him/her some play dough and put on some nursery rhymes. Sing and dance and create all kinds of shapes with the play dough. Not only will this stimulate a range of senses for your toddler, it will also allow you to spend some quality time together.
2. Sorting tasks
You will need two or more containers for this activity (laundry baskets or bins will do) and a mix of different sized or coloured items, such as balls or socks. Invite your little one to sort the items into the two containers. This is a great way to keep your child engaged when you’ve got a list of things you just need to get through.
3. Arts and crafts
Stock up on arts and craft materials like coloured paper, stickers, pens, glitter and stamps (or whatever you can find). Creating an unusual/ textured piece of artwork will keep your little one entertained for quite some time, especially if there are a lot of interesting things to work with. Allocating art and crafts time twice a week will also create a sense of excitement and anticipation around this activity, which will make it so much more special. (*Create a special place in your home for the artwork – this will make your child feel appreciated and loved).
Parents also tend to pass the phone to the toddler at the dinner table when out and about. Rather pack some fun activities for your child to play with at the table. Something easy to pack is a book and some pens.
We hope these ideas inspire you to switch off the TV or help keep your toddler so entertained that they don’t even ask to watch Baby Shark for the zillionth time on your phone. And remember even if today’s screen time exceeds an hour, it’s not the end of the world. You are doing the best you can, and tomorrow is another day!