I just wanted to share a few tips with you all a few ways I’ve found to cut back on my children’s screen time. We don’t allow ipad (because they go ballistic when it’s time to turn it off, just easier to not have it as an option), but in the afternoons, it’s just such a temptation to turn it on and let them zone out for a little while, even though I know it’s so bad for them! So here are some ways I’ve accidentally discovered to cut back!
- Have them put away their toys before they can have TV time. This works because most times they’ll end up playing with the toys they are supposed to be tidying. If your goal is actually a clean living room you might want to rethink this one! It usually works like a charm. If they keep asking for TV you can simply shrug and say, “well, sorry, doesn’t look like you’ve picked up all your toys! Too bad…” sigh and cue sad face!
- Ask them for “help”. Like chopping vegetables (my 5 year old daughter loves to do this) for instance. I think she’d RATHER chop vegetables or fruit than sit in front of the TV. And honestly, so does the three year old! Just make sure you give them a butter knife or something that they can’t cut themselves with. Other activities can include putting away laundry (make it a race), cleaning out the dishwasher (again probably more for ages 4 +, I just have Liesl put away silverware and many times she’ll “organize” the rest of the silverware drawer) but you can decide what you’d like “help” with. (Side note: I was making a chicken and stuffing casserole the other day and Liesl was chopping vegetables next to me, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. and soon she just started adding the veggies to the casserole, and it was really good, ha ha! It was also a great way to get her to try it, normally she doesn’t go for casseroles, but since she made it (ha!) she had 3 helpings. So…win!) Sweeping a garage is also a fun activity for them, just something they don’t ordinarily get to do. You could also get a little spray bottle of water and a rag and let the younger ones spray cupboards to help, or have them play car wash and have them clean toy cars or equipment. My 3 year old son LOVES to do this.
- Get some old toys out of storage. It’s like Christmas when old toys resurface!
- Get out of the house! Go to the library, go on a playdate, just go for a drive!
- If all else fails, give them some screen time and get yourself a Diet Coke, woman!
How do you limit your children’s TV time? What have you tried that’s worked? What’s failed miserably?