Confession!! We have all been guilty, at one point or another, of taking the easy way out and giving our children a tablet, a phone or switched on the TV, just to give ourselves some time to recollect our thoughts.
My fellow parents, it’s ok we understand – life is hectic and sometimes it’s difficult to navigate our children’s random fits of “hyper”. So first things first – Do not feel bad!
Even though screens are part of our reality now, it has been claimed that they can cause severe damage to our eyesight and concentration skills so it’s best to minimize screen time for the children. We’ve come up with six different ways to do just so:
1) Grow a garden – Assign a part of your garden (or just buy a big pot) to your children and allow them to be in charge of it. This way children can explore their creativity and gain a sense of responsibility.
2) Play verbal games – They can play and you can be a part of the game while getting house chores done.
Verbal games involve: How many items can I see beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet?
Which items begins with the letter A?
Let’s put the toys in order of size?
20 question game ” I am thinking of …. ” name an attribute of the object or thing i.e “it is blue ……” Your child can ask questions until they figure out what the item is.
Shopping basket game. “I went to the market and got apples”. The second player adds to the shopping list ” I went to the market and bought apples and bananas”. The next player repeats the items in the shopping basket and adds to it. It continues until one of the players forgets one of the items and is out of the game.
Odd one out. Each player mentions three items and asks the other player to figure which is the odd one out and why.
Alphabet chain. Starting with the letter A each player will mention an item beginning with that letter. The next person says something beginning with the letter B. The third person C and it continues to the end of the alphabet.
3) Host a Play Date – Help your children to cultivate necessary social skills and introduce them to the “sharing is caring” mantra by inviting a couple of children over for them to play with. When children play with other ones, they distract each other.
4)Excite them with other gadgets – Children love screens because they are consistently entertaining..so why not buy some new technology toys that don’t involve electronic screens. Some examples are: Children can build 3D versions of their designs. Simply find an existing design or create one on paper and bring it to life three-dimensionally. Image below.
5) Let them help you – If you are doing housework or running errands, ask your children to join you and make it especially fun by promising an ice cream treat at the end. Everyone wants to help mummy – chances are they’ll be having fun in no time!
6) Play with locks – Keys and locks seem to entertain young children. Problem-solving can also allow your children to enhance their critical thinking abilities even from a young age. Also check out: