Do you feel like your toddler is glued to a screen every time you turn around? Do you dread the inevitable battle royale that ensues whenever it’s time to put that gadget away? Today, I’m teaming up with Kinderkind, one of our favorite children’s clothing lines, to share advice for how to reduce screen time easily and effectively (more on their blog too here). I’ve been trying the following methods out with Sadie and Naiya and they’ve been helping us out big time! Featuring some of our favorite outfits by Kinderkind too. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for outfit details and a discount code for you to use at checkout. Enjoy!HOW TO REPLACE YOUR TODDLER’S SCREEN TIME
When we were kids, we had books, games, and toys galore to occupy our time. Today, our babies seem to come out of the womb knowing how to operate a smartphone or open their favorite apps on our tablets! Our almost 19-month-old, Sadie is already a total pro! It completely blows my mind!
Young kids learn by exploring their environment, and by watching and imitating the adults in their lives. That said, studies show that excessive screen time may hinder a child’s ability to observe and experience the world around them, potentially hampering their overall development. While I’m definitely of the mindset that use of tablets or phones when it comes to our kids isn’t ALWAYS bad (after all, they can be lifesavers whenever we travel!), I do believe that over-usage isn’t a safe idea either.
HOW TO REDUCE SCREEN TIME
Is your child exceeding the advisable screen time limit? We’ve found this article to be especially helpful because it dives into what this limit looks like. If so, how do you even begin to pry the tablet or cell phone away from those little fingers? Here are our top three tips!
1) Follow A Routine
When children have a predictable structure, they respond much better to rules and regulations.
Add a fixed slot for screen time on your toddler’s daily schedule and stick to it. Use visual cues like the picture of a cell phone if your little one hasn’t learned to read yet. Once they come to understand that they’ll be getting their gadget per the routine, you’ll encounter a lot less whining for it at other times!
Wa’ve found this particular article about the importance of routines for your child to be especially helpful.
2) Be A Role Model
There’s no point in asking our kiddos to put away the devices if we as adults are constantly buried in them ourselves! I myself am often guilty of this!
As mentioned above, children learn most by observing grown-ups around them. Likewise, pay extra attention to how often you use your own gadgets and monitor your own screen time. Even if you’re working from home, make sure you have tech-free downtime as a family.
Sharing some other great tips on modeling healthy screen time habits as a parent here.
3) Set A Time Limit
Setting time limits are another great way to manage screen time.
Explain when and how long your child can use a particular gadget. Using a timer with an alarm is effective with little kids who can’t tell time. When you have clear and consistent rules, it’s easy to avoid those daily tantrums when you tell your little one to turn off the TV, tablet, or phone.
How much is too much? This helpful article shares more about screen time guidelines for your child.FUN ACTIVITIES TO REPLACE SCREEN TIME
So, we’ve been successful in getting our little tech enthusiasts away from their gadgets. But now, what can you do with this extra free time? Here are some fun activities that are guaranteed to make your toddler forget all about that tablet or cell phone!
1) Get Them Outdoors
One of the major drawbacks of screen time is that it leads to so much sedentary time. Get your little one outside!
Playing outdoors is an excellent way to boost your child’s mental and physical development. Running, jumping, climbing, and skipping engage muscles ALL over the body–while promoting balance, strength, and development. If your toddler is playing with other children, it’s also mentally stimulating as they learn to share toys, take turns, and engage with others (more here).2) Craft Fun
Kids love getting messy with glue and sticky paper! And sometimes, messy is exactly what’s needed.
Keep a good stock of paper, crayons and other craft supplies to pull out and inspire your little artist. Paint, create colorful collages, make paper flowers, cut out colorful masks.You can even make cards for elderly relatives, essential workers or teachers!
Need some inspiration? Take a look at this article here.3) Family Game Night
Ditch the regular Friday night movie and plan a family game night instead!
Get out your favorite board games or opt for the classics like “Charades” or “I Spy.” You can play dress-up, have a performance night, or set up a mini bowling alley in the living room. Games are a fantastic way to encourage your child’s language and social development, and practice various skills like counting, color recognition and hand-eye coordination.Plus we guarantee gales of laughter and oodles of fun!
Sharing a list of other family games that your toddler can participate in too.
4) Cook Up a Storm
What child doesn’t LOVE getting their little hands dirty in the kitchen?
Squishing dough, sprinkling herbs, cutting out cookies, stirring batter– there’s a world of culinary delight awaiting our little ones in there! Let your toddler mess around in the kitchen or even help you prepare dinner. Kids who love eating will be over the moon at having a hand in tossing up their own grub – and if you’re the parent of a picky eater, engaging your kid in preparing their own meal may help to curb some of their picky tendencies.
Sharing some great recipe suggestions here your little one will adore.
5) Encourage Independent Play
We love activities – but we love our free time too, and so do our kiddos. Make sure you allow your little one some time for independent play!
Unstructured playtime allows children to explore their imagination and the things around them. This helps with brain development, as well as improving dexterity, physical and cognitive abilities. So, if you find yourself constantly running from activity to activity and your toddler is over-scheduled, cut back and add in some independent play.
Sharing 5 great tips here to encourage your child’s independent play.As parents, we ALWAYS want what’s best for our children. One of our goals is to keep them from being constantly absorbed in their devices–and it’s definitely not easy! The mom guilt is REAL over here–especially working from home and balancing the kids! We want to ensure that the girls follow age-appropriate screen time limits. Reduced screen time means more time for a variety of activities, which we ideal for your child’s overall development. A little screen time here and there can’t hurt but too much is never a good thing.
Kinderkind supports parents as they bring up happy, healthy and well-adjusted kids. We’re excited for you to give the above suggestions which we put together a try. Most of us mamas hand over our tablets and phones when we need to (I’m no exception!) and we’re hopeful that the above tips will help you to achieve a better balance.
How do you balance screen time in your house? Tell us all the things in the comment section below! And head on over to Kinderkind for the cutest outfits for your little ones. Use the code OFFER20 for 20% off your purchase. Kinderkind is also having a sale right now: 30% off select spring styles, 25% off orders above $50, and free shipping. Featured Outfits: Girls Stripe Peplum Hem Tassel Top / Girls Short Sleeve Tee/ Girls Sleeveless Hibiscus Top / Girls Pull On Chambray Skirt / Girls Pull On Ruffle Short / Girls Pull On Fringe Short
Thank you to Kinderkind for sponsoring this post.