With COVID-19 forcing so many of us to stay at home, it’s getting harder and harder to find creative ways to keep everyone happy. Sometimes you’ll resort to giving the kids a phone, tablet or turn on the TV just to keep the peace. But then the guilt sets in – isn’t screen-time bad? Shouldn’t you be finding things to do screen-free instead..?
I spoke to two of our clinicians here at Irabina, Joanna Elms (our Allied Health Team Leader) and Caitlin Kennedy (a fantastic Speech Therapist) about screen time for kids, and they had so many great ideas both for making the most of screen-time and going screen-free that I had to start a list.
So here are six ways to get more out of screen-time with the kids – or go screen-free.
Get the kids to help you make sandwiches and picnic snacks, shift the dining table so that you’ve got room to lay down a picnic blanket and don’t forget those teddies! I love this idea because with our Spring weather leaping between sunshine and storms, an indoor picnic ensures you get the fun of going outdoors without everything blowing away.
Make screen-time a family event and have everyone pick a song to sing along to. You’ll get bonus points if you can make up some great dance moves, too. Singing and dancing are great ways to exercise and have fun at the same time.
Does your family love watching those obstacle shows on TV? Well it can be even more fun to make your own obstacle course and challenge everyone to complete it. Your obstacles can be simple or challenging – climbing under or over chairs, walking along a piece of tape like it’s a tight-rope, hopping over twigs or doing different actions, like star jumps and clapping. You’ll find the kids making their own courses in no time!
Does your child have a favourite book (or 10)? Jump on Youtube and there’s a good chance you’ll find someone has recorded themselves reading it. Set them up with the video and their own, physical book, and let them turn the pages as they watch the story being told. Better yet, get out the camera and record you and your child reading the book together. They’ll love getting to watch it over, and over (and over…) again. Joanna said she loves doing this with her son when she needs to get something done!
Have you seen this one popping up on social media? Maybe you already have a little spoonville growing somewhere on your daily walk? Grab some wooden spoons and the arts & crafts box and sit down with the kids to decorate your own spoons to add to the neighbourhood. Make things extra special by getting the kids to name their spoons and create a story about who they are and how they came to be in Spoonville.
There are a ton of mindless games available on our phones, and we’ve all found ourselves procrastinating and flicking through them at one time or another. Thankfully, there plenty of apps that we can download which are educational too.
Caitlin has put together a huge list of Educational Apps on the App Store that she recommends for her kids and their families. Do you have any of these apps on your iPhone or iPad?
So which will it be for you? Are you going to grab the phone and make the most of those educational apps? Or will you switch off the screen and start prepping for a picnic? Whichever it is, we hope you remember that with or without screens, we know you’re doing a great job. Be sure to take a few minutes to yourself here and there to recharge, before leaping into the next adventure with the kids.
Thanks so much to Caitlin and Joanna for all your suggestions. If you want to learn more about the services we provide for families here at Irabina check out: https://www.irabina.com/family-services/