In the digital age, children are more exposed to screens than ever before. Although screens and technology can offer various benefits such as exposure to a range of information and things to keep you entertained for hours, they are not always the most healthy for us or our kids. To encourage your children to put the tablet down or turn the TV off, you’ll need some alternative fun activities that spark their interest. Discover some of our best tips for replacing screen time here plus details as to why screens are not so advantageous to children.
Why Are Screens Bad For Children?
Research has shown that excessive screen time reduces empathy, minimises attention spans, and limits the information we are taught from human interaction. Screens impact how children can read faces and learn social skills, two main factors required for empathy. Plus, without any boredom in their lives, babies will struggle to cope with frustration and control impulses as they develop. There are, therefore, a variety of reasons to deter parents from giving their children too much screen time.
Activities To Replace Screen Time
There is nothing wrong with some screen time every day, however, it is important to limit this screen time in order to benefit the child’s development and well-being. Finding entertaining alternative activities to screen time does not have to be difficult. Take a look at our suggestions below for some inspiration.
1. Family Game Night
Instead of watching a film or TV show, why not opt for a family game night instead? Board games, puzzles and quizzes can be a great way to keep the mind active and engage with family members while also being entertaining. Games can also encourage children in their developing skills such as counting, hand-eye coordination and colour recognition, making them beneficial in a child’s development.
2. Cook Together
Inviting your children to join you in the kitchen can be both a practical and beneficial way to teach kids new skills away from a screen. Although it might seem disruptive, children can learn how to conduct themselves in a kitchen environment from a young age, if only they are given the chance. For young children, you can get them to pour ingredients in a bowl and talk through your cooking process whereas older kids can help stir and tidy up. Whatever jobs they help with, they should be engaged in the process and develop vital practical skills. Here at Keren’s Nursery, we provide children with the opportunity to experiment with food by creating doughs, sauces, and participating in TasteEd projects.
3. Play Outside
Playing outside not only gets children away from screens but also encourages the use of muscles all over the body. Whether they’re running, jumping, or even swinging, children can further develop their strength and balance when playing outdoors as well as improving their overall physical health. What’s more, playing with other children is mentally stimulating. Outdoor play, therefore, has a whole host of positive benefits for our youth. As Keren’s Nursery is Forest School accredited, we allow the children to explore the wonders of nature with daily outdoor play which is vital for their physical and emotional development.
4. Take On Arts & Crafts
The term arts and crafts can often deter parents with images of mess and utensils scattered everywhere. However, some simple art-based activities can really help to engage children and target their creative side. Even something as basic as encouraging your children to draw a picture of your family or an animal can keep them occupied for hours and only requires paper and pencils. If you have children of a similar age range, why not set up a drawing competition to add an element of competition into the mix? Arts and crafts do not need to be elaborate, they just need to be fun, and that is the key.
5. Read Together
Finally, reading can stimulate language processing parts of the brain and expose your child to new vocabulary. Reading might not be super engaging for all children, but reading together from a young age and as part of their daily routine can largely support a child’s cognitive development, imagination, and concentration which they may struggle to grasp solely from screen time. Plus, creating a reading routine can help establish a lifelong love of literature in your child which is valuable in itself.