We’ve all been guilty of it. You just need two minutes to yourself to get the washing up done so you give your child your tablet to play on. Or you’re out and about and they won’t stop nagging you until you hand over your phone. It’s ok, we’ve all been there.
No one prepared us for parenthood with smartphones. It didn’t exist before now. Great, there are all these super smooth parenting hacks when it comes to getting them to eat their 5 a day, have a bath and agree to bedtime. But what about screen time? Where’s our how-to guide on that?
Right here. In the meantime, we’re sharing 3 clever parenting hacks that help keep other parents sane.
#1 Set daily challenges
It’s all very well saying kids should be bored. But when they are constantly on your case about something to do, well, the screen is an easy option. And it can be hard to think of activities off the top of your head when your kid rejects them all!
So, our first parenting hack? Create a list of daily challenges. Right now. We’ve got 10 to get you started, but you might have ones that appeal to your child’s nature more. Write them down on separate post-it notes, fold them up and put them in a jar.
Then, whenever your kid says they’re bored and they want to play on the computer, tablet or smartphone — just point to the jar! (Don’t forget to top it up before you run out of challenges! Or get the kids to write their own.)
RELATED: Seeking screen-free activities to keep the kids entertained?
10 kid challenges
- Complete/make your own puzzle
- Master a handstand
- Hang a spoon off your nose
- Catch coins off your elbow
- Build a house of cards
- Build a domino track
- Teach your pet a trick
- Complete a game of knuckleheads (the old fashioned one, not the online game!)
- Skip to 100 / Do 10 ‘keepie uppies’ with a ball in a row.
- Make a sculpture from Playdough
#2 Enlist the help of your elders
Yeah, we know, “back in your day” there were no such things as smartphones and tablets to keep kids entertained. So why not enlist the help of the grandparents to keep the kids occupied? It’s ok to ask for help, and who better than parents who have done it all before?
Because older generations are often less comfortable with tech than we are, they can (though we hate to admit it) be better examples to our kids of how to stay entertained without the need for a screen.
Whether the kids just spend time with their grandparents doing activities together or you think back to what you did as a child that your kids can still do today. Draw on your own past experiences to make parenting in the present just a little bit easier.
#3 Set strict boundaries
This one seems like an obvious one, but we all slip up occasionally. And that’s when the kids pounce. How many times have you heard, “but you let me play on the tablet last week!”? If you don’t have a screen time app that sets the boundaries for you, you need to have a very clear set of rules about when screen time is allowed.
By clear, we mean printed and posted in a place everyone can see them (like the fridge).
One parent we know wouldn’t even let her kids have screens unless they could come up with a list of five convincing reasons why they should be allowed screen time. She said they often got so fed up trying to think of the reasons that they went off to play something else to entertain themselves!
There you have it. The 3 clever parenting hacks you can use to stop your kids relying so heavily on digital devices. Of course, it’s all become a lot easier since the inception of Habyts, but these classics can still help in those moments of parenting madness!
Just remember…in that split second before you hand over the device, you can decide what type of experience your kids are going to have. A nurturing one where they get their hands and feet dirty digging for dinosaur bones in the backyard (even though you’ll have to clean them up later) or a media-fuelled entertainment binge on the tablet.
RELATED: Explore the Fast-Track Habyts Product Tour
How do you handle screen time tantrums? Tell us in the comment section below!