There’s a lot of conflicting information about children’s use of technology.
Some studies link screen time with increased levels of anxiety and obesity and lower levels of socialization. Others suggest it’s a good thing, with research showing that children who use tablets tend to have better hand/ eye coordination with those that don’t.
The latest advice we’re being given is that ‘screen time isn’t intrinsically bad for children’ providing it’s properly supervised by parents. Most of us would probably agree that like everything, it’s all about moderation.
Children enjoy using technology, and it can help them improve some skills such as games focusing on coordination, memory, numbers, and words.
But there needs to be balance, there should be other interests, hobbies, and activities in your child’s life that they genuinely enjoy. If you’re wondering what kinds of things might grab their attention away from their screens and technology, here are a few ideas!
They’re also an opportunity for you to spend quality time with your little ones.
Baking and cooking
Baking teaches children the importance of precision.
How they need to carefully weigh out each ingredient, and follow the instructions exactly and they’ll be rewarded with perfect bakes every time. The decorating element is also a lot of fun and a way for them to showcase their creativity.
Cooking is a fun way to get kids interested in healthy food, research shows children are more likely to try things they’ve helped to prepare. Have them wash vegetables, stir ingredients and do other tasks appropriate for their age.
Use is as a way to educate them on ingredients- their name, their taste, where and how they’re grown and much more.
Models and model building
If you were interested in models as a child, chances are you want your own children to follow suit with their interest.
Building and collecting them can be a lot of fun, and you can choose models based on the things they like best. It could be a Newcastle Flyer model if they love locomotives, it could be model airplanes, cars, buildings or animals.
Model building again requires precision and care, from building to painting and assembling all of the pieces. In the case of ready built models, it’s the collecting element which is fun, most kids tend to enjoy the collecting process.
We’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic, and children are also affected.
However, since they’re naturally full of energy it’s not difficult getting them back onto the right path. Make outdoors activities fun and enjoyable so it’s something they actually want to do.
You could print out worksheets on Pinterest and go on long nature walks, collecting items or ticking them off the sheet as you go. You could teach them map reading or orienteering, how to build a campfire and the type of wood to collect.
You could go on family bike rides, teach them how to pitch a tent and so much more. Enjoying and appreciating the outdoors is a great way to get them up and active.
Some children will be naturally drawn to sports, and get a lot of enjoyment out of kicking a ball around, throwing, catching and more.
However others won’t, but it’s not to say that they’ll dislike all sports. Some are naturally more ‘fun’- take trampolining for example. It’s something that most kids will enjoy and burn heaps of calories.
Swimming is another sporty activity most kids like, then you have dance, roller/ ice skating- even ultimate frisbee! If your child isn’t a typical football/ tennis/ cricket kind of kid, try them with some of these activities instead.
The secret to getting kids away from their screens is to find other things to do that are genuinely fun and enjoyable.
Make the ‘real world’ just as exciting as anything that a smartphone or tablet can offer them, they’ll get so much more out of life. There’s room in their lives to enjoy using technology, and in the fast-moving world we live in, it makes sense for them to be technologically apt and able to use it.
But other hobbies create balance and can also enable you to have fun times and make memories with your kids too.
What kinds of activities do you do with your children to keep the balance between screen time and the real world?