4 Quick Tips For Limiting Screen Time

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I’m not going to lie, my kids have had more tech time lately than I’d care to admit right now.

But they’re stuck at home for an indefinite amount of time with little breaks to get out of the house.

My 5-year-old has a broken arm and a cast up to his elbow, so we’re limited on what we can do. On top of that, we live on a busy street and our front yard is really steep. Our back yard is non-existent because our house is next to a creek. Plus we decided a few months ago to redo our back deck, and unfortunately it’s currently in pieces.

Eventually we’ll have a brand new back deck and hopefully will be able to enjoy the outside a little more.

But for now I’m trying to be creative and finding activities to do outside like chalk obstacle courses, animal charades, jump the river, shadow drawings, and basically whatever you can do on a giant grassy slope.

Playing Jump The River

Get two long sticks or pieces of rope. Put them about a foot apart and see who can jump across. Move the rope or sticks back a little further apart and try again. The person who can make the longest jump wins!

Shadow Drawings
Shadow Drawings

We’re lucky to live in a neighborhood with lots of trails and a beautiful lake, but everyone else has had the idea to use them too and that can make social distancing hard.

Despite my best efforts, there have been plenty of days over the past few weeks where we haven’t even gotten outside. I’m ok with my kids getting more screen time than usual right now, but some days I just want them to play.

As a former play therapist, I know the importance of play. I know that kids need to use their creative minds. I also know that play is their language when they don’t have the words to say what they want to.

So I’m trying to encourage play as much as possible.

I will be the last to judge you if you let your kids have tech time all day, but sometimes I feel like my kids need a break from it.

If you need help getting your kids off their screens, here are a few tips that might help:

1. SET LIMITS

My kids get up around 7 am most mornings. I’m not a morning person at all. So they’re allowed to play video games or watch tv until I get up, but at 9 am they know they have to turn them off.

I’ve also made the rule that they can’t play video games during the week until they finish their school work. And then I try to limit their tech time to 1 hour. They usually get to watch tv at night before bed too.

2. GIVE THEM A WARNING

I try to give my kids a warning 5 minutes before their time is going to be up so there won’t be any surprises. That way they can finish up their game too.

3. BE CONSISTENT

I’m definitely not always consistent, but I try the best I can. If your child knows that when you say something you mean it, they are less likely to try to talk you out of it when you enforce a limit.

4. GET THEM STARTED

Sometimes if I have an activity planned like chalk painting outside. Once I get them outside they come up with other fun things to do on their own.

Here’s a super easy way to make chalk paint!

  • Put a few tablespoons of cornstarch in a bowl.
  • Add a few tablespoons of water.
  • Add food coloring.
  • Mix it up!
Chalk Painting
Chalk Painting

For more ideas check out Days With Gray. Beth has tons of fun activities to do with kids and her Breakfast Invitations make setting your kids up to play without screens easy to do.

What fun activities are you doing with your kids?

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