As the weather gets colder and snowier, kids start to spend more time indoors. What’s more appealing than an iPad or TV? It’s an ongoing struggle many parents face: children want more and more screen time, yet the research is showing that screen time isn’t great for kids . So, how best to minimize technology usage (and boredom) during those long winter days?
First of all, disconnect from your own devices. This is quite difficult for adults, since completing many of our daily tasks depends on our phones. However, put them down when you can and be intentional with your usage.
Next, plan fun things to do this winter that don’t require screens. If you’re willing to risk a mess, set up an indoor water, sand, or rice table in a laundry room or storage space (any place where it can get messy). Put a tarp under it to keep things (somewhat) contained. Also, make sure to have craft supplies ready. Get some fun construction paper and glitter markers or crayons to experiment with on different days. Play-Doh or clay will keep those little fingers busy, too.
Another option is to build an indoor obstacle course with common household items. Have kids crawl under a chair, hop over a cardboard brick, balance along a line on the floor, and end with a splash in a big blanket “puddle.” If you have a little trampoline or tunnel, add those to the obstacle course as well.
The best way to decrease kids’ screen time is to be prepared with lots of activities and plan out their technology usage in advance. You can often turn off your child’s tablet remotely, from your own device, to make sure those time limits are enforced.
As you’re keeping busy, make sure to stop by the library for some of our winter storytimes that are starting again in January. Get Up ‘n Groove on Friday mornings is a favorite of mine, because it’s all singing and dancing and, yes, grooving! Before you leave, pick up one of our fun and educational PlayPacks . I recommend the “I’m a Chef” PlayPack , which includes an adorable chef outfit and toy cooking utensils. At home, you can have your little one pretend to make and serve you food like a real chef!
Stay warm and creative out there! You’ve got this.