My daughter loves watching movies, playing on my tablet, and occasionally playing video games, and that’s OK with me. I accept the reality that my resistance to these things would be futile in the 21st century.
But, because I know how valuable and important it is for children to also play outside, run around, play with non-electronic toys, listen to silence, and even experience boredom…I make sure there is a limit to the electronic stimuli in my daughter’s life. I don’t have a hard and fast rule about how much screen time she can have – it varies from day to day depending on a few different factors. I suggest some reading on the subject of kids and boredom with articles like this, this and this. On the subject of limiting screen time for children (iPads, computers, television, etcetera) there are plenty of interesting reads like this and this.
A lot of times when my daughter is told that she can’t play on the computer/tablet/TV, she gets whiny. However, every time she whines from not getting her way, I always remind her, “Whining gets you nothing.” She is getting very close to understanding this, except on occasions when she is more emotional or tired.
Other times she will tell me she is bored and that there is nothing to do, but I don’t fret over it at all. I acknowledge that I am listening to what she is telling me, but then I get back to whatever I’m doing. This lets her know that Mommy isn’t going to be her personal entertainer every time she is “bored”. She has to rely on her imagination and other resources to entertain herself, and I truly believe this not only develops her creativity, but strengthens her character. It’s actually very interesting and fun to see what she comes up with. It can be harder in the winter when the weather is bad and going outside isn’t really an option.
Some of the non-electronic activities my daughter will engage in include:
- board games (she loves Candy Land, Clue, Hedbanz, to name a few)
- crafts (she has a big clear plastic container with an assortment of craft supplies)
- soft dough with plastic shape cutters
- writing in journals and notebooks
- playing outside, bike riding
- playing with the dog
- role-playing (doctor, teacher, waitress, mom, etc)
- playing with toys/dolls
- sitting around not doing much of anything (which is OK with me as long as she isn’t doing it for prolonged periods of time)
- occasionally (not nearly often enough), she and I will make something together in the kitchen and we also enjoy attending mommy/daughter cooking classes, which are fantastic and I highly recommend
What non-electronic activities does your child most enjoy? Do you try to put some sort of limit on their screen time? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!