Though most areas of the world are slowly starting to reopen and get back to a ‘new normal,’ some places are still encouraging people to shelter in place, or at least stay home as often as possible.
In many cases, children have been out of school for months already, and with summer just around the corner, that can leave many parents panicking about what to do to keep their kids occupied. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of parents allowing their kids to play on tablets, computers, and phones. In the U.S. alone, children spend an average of 5-7 hours a day in front of screens. That can lead to trouble sleeping, headaches, and poor concentration.
It’s often difficult enough to keep your home organized during a lockdown period, but keeping your children away from screens and actually making sure they stay busy? That’s an entirely different challenge.
So, what can you do to keep your kids entertained while putting the electronics away for a while?
1. Listen to Audiobooks
Reading should be a top priority on every parent’s list, especially in the summer months when it’s easy for a child to “slip” on their learning process.
While encouraging your child to read a book or even reading one together is the best option, audiobooks have also become increasingly popular. Finding an audiobook for kids is an easy task nowadays, and your child might actually be more interested in it, since the narrators typically use voices, sound effects, etc. It’s a great way for your child to get into reading while sort of connecting the dots between electronics and an actual book.
2. Create a Busy Box
Get a large plastic box/bin and fill it with activities your child can do on their own. It can include things like coloring books, drawing paper, a few toys, a puzzle, etc.
If your child is bored or they’re looking for something to do, bring out the box. They’ll love being able to make the choice themselves when it comes to their activity, and you can keep adding/taking things away from the box to make it a different experience for your child each time.
3. Give Them Ways to Help
Though there are plenty of stereotypes about children not wanting to do chores, they aren’t necessarily true. Kids, in general, like to be helpful. They especially like working on things they think are meant for grownups.
So, don’t be afraid to ask your child to help you with appropriate tasks. If you’re making dinner, have them help with measuring out ingredients or stirring things together. If you’re doing laundry, have them separate colors or teach them how to fold.
There are plenty of ways for your children to be helpful around the house, and when you show them how much you appreciate that help, they’ll be more willing to chime in with chores more often.
It’s important to let your creativity shine when you’re trying to keep your kids busy without screen time. You know your children better than anyone. So, think outside the box, consider the things they enjoy doing, and center your summer around that. You might just be surprised at how much fun you’ll both have.