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Are you worried that your little one is spending too much time in front of a screen?
Well, you’re not alone. 84% of parents are concerned that their kids have too much screen-time.
If our little cubs are not glued to the screen watching their favorite Kids TV Show, they’re on Netflix, YouTube, etc. or playing video games.
Unfortunately, in today’s digital world, moving children away from screens takes a very intentional, conscious decision for every parent.
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Here are 9 ideas on how to get your toddler moving and playing away from screens.
First things first, Set the Example
You might not know it, but kids really pay attention.
If your little one observes that you are constantly glued to your laptop, phone, iPad, TV etc., they’re gonna do exactly that.
Toddlers copy what mum and dad do!
So, before anything else, regulate the time you spend with your gadgets.
Fight off that urge to constantly check your Instagram or Facebook.
Ask Them What they Like to Do Outside
First things first, incorporate your little tot’s opinions in spending time outdoors.
What do they like to do outside?
For instance, after an afternoon playing outdoors, you can get them to tell you what they enjoyed the most outside.
Ask them what they want to do over again. Get them to do this as often as possible.
This way, you’ll keep them entertained away from the screens.
Conclusively, getting your little one off the screen and physically active is not such an uphill task.
I’ve put together a guide with different activities that are fun to do together with young kids. Hopefully at least a few of these are possible in the area where-ever you are reading this from.
And if not, then this serves as a starting point.
The main thing is to find activities that happen away from screens, most of the time outside, and last but not least – will not break the bank.
Encourage Outdoor Play
Put away the electronic gadgets and simply Walk outta the door!
Let the kids play with the pet(s) – if you have any, or even play on the sand.
Outdoor play reduces screen time for toddlers, and fortunately, it comes with loads of benefits.
It builds their creativity as they explore nature outside.
Don’t forget about the benefits of sunshine on both the physical and mental health of your little tot!
Play with Them
I get it. You had a long day at work. All you want to do when you get home is sit on the couch and relax.
Your little one then runs in and says “Mom! Dad! Please play with me. Please?!”
Well, fight that temptation to hand them a fully-charged tablet/IPad/phone to entertain themselves.
Garner that extra energy to play that board game or puzzle with your little one.
Or even build that castle using the Lego blocks!
Playing with your toddler will not only reduce their screen time, but also makes your bond stronger.
Oh, and play is also great for mom and dad too!
Get them Age-appropriate Toys
Toys are great alternatives to screen time.
You can tactfully take away that tablet or get them away from the TV by handing them age appropriate toys.
Examples of age-appropriate toys for toddlers include building blocks, dolls, toy cars, activity cubes, etc.
Playing with toys has loads of benefits for your toddler.
These include developing fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, visual perceptions, among others.
Enroll them for Swimming Lessons, If Possible
That is, if there’s a pool nearby.
My son loves to swim!
When I was overly concerned about his dependence on his tablet, a friend advised me to enroll him for swimming classes. I am so proud I did!
Being engaged in other activities such as swimming keeps children away from their screens.
They get to meet other children in the pool and have fun! What’s more, once they’re home from the pool, they’ll most likely take a nap. *Highfive*
Don’t even get me talking about the oodles of benefits that come with swimming for kids.
Go on a Bike Ride with Them
Do you have a bike? What about your kid or kids? Is there a safe area nearby where you can all ride together?
Riding bikes is a classic age-old activity.
To date, I still love going on those evening bike rides!
Well, if you also love riding bikes, you can have your little one accompany you on their tricycle, bicycle or scooter.
It will also keep them physically fit, and it will be fun for both of you.
Besides the fun, let’s not forget that the bike ride will keep them off that screen! Isn’t that our objective?
Go Hunt for Butterflies
Kids just LOVE butterflies! My 6-year-old is still fascinated with butterflies.
What better way to keep your little one moving and playing away from screens than getting them to hunt for something they love?
Oh, you can make this even more fun by singing butterfly songs as they hunt!
This way, they will actually start reminding you to head outta the door and hunt for butterflies!
The battle of screen dependence is won, isn’t it? Yes.
Garden with them
To keep your little one off the screen and active, garden with them.
You can get garden sets for them to make the experience even more fun. These sets come with different items – shovels, trowels, forks, spades, etc.
Remember that gardening makes kids more responsible and self-confident as they observe different plants or flowers growing, knowing, that this is hapenning because of what they did some time ago.