We live in a world that is digitally led and this digital uprising has filtered down into the activities that we do on a day to day basis with our children. This has led to an increase in the number of children who now spend less time outside and more time indoors in front of a variety of technological gadgets.
Wherever you look online, you’ll find article after scholarly article about screen time guidelines for our children that we should all be adhering to. There is a balancing act when it comes to screen time, and it has nothing to do with the internet options available in your area which often affect how much you can stream. Every parent across the world will have their own rules when it comes to the amount of exposure that their children get to television or tablets, but should we be looking at the official health guidelines instead?
Our children are surrounded by digital media all the time. Even if we don’t leave the television running in the background all day, they’ll see billboards that used to be paper are now digital screens. They’ll see adverts for games consoles and tablets. They’ll see the marketing of tablets aimed at children that are packed full of educational apps and games. Screen time is as much a part of our everyday lives now, as coloring books and crayons used to be. Adults rely heavily on technology to get work done, and we rely on Netflix and tv show and film streaming entertainment. In 2011, only 35% of adults owned a smartphone with an interactive screen. This number has soared to 95% in 2017. The reliance we have on the internet and our screens as adults filter down to our children – so they are bound to pick it up!
When you tell your children that it’s time to put the screens away, you could find yourself at a loss of what to do instead, and it’s so important that they know there is more to life than staring at an iPad. The screen time that our kids get tends to vary based on the activities of the day, or whether they are in school or not. There are plenty of other ways that your children can have fun without the crutch of an interactive screen to help. Check out the list below and try and implement some into each day you are with the kids:
- Get messy in the garden and plant and water flowers
- Visit a local beach and have a sandcastle building contest
- Work on writing your own comic and illustrating it
- Build a blanket fort
- Got a trampoline? Go for a jump!
- Fill water balloons and have a water fight
- Go on a nature hunt
- Cook together as a family for dinner
Filling the free time of your children without a screen to entertain doesn’t have to be hard. Simply think back to when you were a child – how did you entertain yourself?