Tearing your little ones away from their favourite cartoon series streaming in the living room can quickly result in tears and tantrums.
Likewise, when mum and dad feel that their kids have spent enough time for the day playing games on a tablet or smartphone, it can become a power struggle like no other.
So, what is a parent to do? Should you hide the TV remote and put mobile devices away?
Perhaps a gentler approach is the answer.
See your solution not as taking away your child’s favourite series or game, but rather reducing screen time and alternating with fun toys and activities.
The important thing is – every day – you set the scene first. Explain to your little ones that they can watch their favourite show for a little while and then it is time for a fun playtime.
Remember - don’t ever make them feel like they are being punished or “bad” for wanting to engage in their favourite screen time activities.
Here are some of our favourite activities that are sure to engage and inspire your little ones to spend some time “offline”.
Pretend play for little dreamers
Kids are often inspired by the friendly, courageous characters they see on-screen. It is almost a given that your child has told you at some point that they want to be a princess, a knight, or even an explorer.
They might even have fun retelling mum or dad about their favourite scenes as you are making dinner or during the morning routine.
Tap into this love for storytelling with imaginative play opportunities!
For indoor play, you can grab your little ones’ attention (and imagination) with small world play using friendly storybook characters. Let them become the storytellers, putting together amazing stories, developing characters, and developing problem-solving skills as they go along!
Want to take their pretend play outdoors to the garden? Your children can become pirate ship captains on their climbing frames or, when it comes to smaller kids, even race to the rescue with little balance bikes.
Keep them learning with fun, educational play
Lots of online games for kids are designed with learning in mind. However, it is important to balance the educational play they are enjoying on mobile devices and ensure it doesn’t become more important than real-life learning.
Wooden puzzles are a fantastic way to give children the joy they experience swiping puzzle pieces into place while playing online games. A little dinosaur puzzle, for instance, will keep them engaged as they match up the different pieces – all while developing fine motor skills!
Counting boards are another fun activity to get your little one excited about. Many online games offer sorting games according to colours or numbers, and these board games offer loads of fun mimicking this activity.
If your kids love letter games, they can continue learning their ABCs with beautiful alphabet flashcards - they offer a beautiful visual element that they can hold in their hands as they inspect and discover each image and letter.
Offer lots of choice and variety
Whichever offline activities help your kids to reduce their screen time, always remember to offer variety and let them take the lead when it comes to their preferences.
You will soon find that screen time can easily be balanced with other activities, without a battle of wills!