5 Screen Time Choices My Family Is Making
No doubt, you’ve seen the ever-changing studies and ‘rules’ about screen time for kids all over the internet. I don’t know about you, but I can barely keep up with the fluctuating research and findings! So we’ve decided to make our screen time choices as a family based on what we know about our kiddos, and what works for our family. We value the importance of active thinking and play for our boys, so it’s important to us that screen time not be a 24/7 thing here. However, we also believe ‘everything in moderation is key.’ Inspired by The Toy Association’s ‘Genius Of Play’ campaign, I’m talking about how we make it work in our home. Read on to see the 5 choices my family is making about screen time. If you’ve been questioning the screen time standards in your home, these choices may be a great starting point for your to re-evaluate your family’s stance.
Choose toys inspired by screen time favorites.
We’ve had a lot of success choosing toys for #thebigone that are inspired by his screen time favorites, but don’t necessarily involve a screen. Choosing open ended toys allows kids to be creative and imaginative while still feeling connected to their favorite games or videos. Minecraft lends itself perfectly to building, so encouraging building with Legos is an ideal extension. Roblox figures promote dramatic play, as kids help their characters act out scenes. Plush toys allow children to cuddle with a favorite game character at bedtime. It’s the perfect option to help kids settle down at bedtime, rather than a screen making sleep more difficult.
Choose books inspired by screen time favorites.
This is another area where we’ve chosen to find screen time extensions that don’t actually involve screens. When at the bookstore, we notice our oldest steering towards books that coordinate with his favorite video games. If it means he enthusiastically reads independently, we’re happy to fill our shelves with Minecraft inspired series. #thebigone feels like he’s still immersed in the world of his game, when he’s really getting some quality quiet time and reading practice.
Another great book alternative we love is purchasing workbooks inspired by our children’s on-screen favorites. #thebigone has always loved workbooks, so for him, this option is more play than work. (We would never force extra work on a kid who didn’t enjoy it! Play is the work of childhood, after all.) His favorite workbooks for years have been inspired by Star Wars. The characters make learning math and phonics seem like playtime to him. We loved being able to help him learn without needing a screen.
Choose quality screen time.
We’re not crazy. My husband and I know that our kids are going to spend time in front of screens. Honestly, they’re probably exposed to screens more than they should be. Whenever possible, we make an effort to help our kids engage in quality screen time. There’s a huge difference between #thebigone sitting zoned out on the couch watching tv mindlessly and coding on our raspberry pi with my husband. He loves video games, so rather than just sitting and playing, we chose a kit to help him create his own video game. Sure, it involves a screen, but he goes through the creative process along with it, and the possibilities are endless. We don’t want to deprive our kids of all screen time by any means. Instead we want to focus on engaging, active, creative screen time options. This choice is truly where the old cliche ‘it’s not quantity, it’s quality’ comes into play. Ideally, the majority of screen time in our home should inspire creative, active thinking, and PLAY!
Choose to research.
I’m just an average mom, by no means an expert at any of this! Sure, I can share the choices my family makes regarding screen time, but it’s not gospel. Make sure to do what works for your family, and do your research. There are countless books out there on the topic of screen time for kids. Check some out from your local library, or grab one the next time you’re at the bookstore. Consult a few before you find the guidance that resonates for you, and really suits your family.
choose to be flexible.
Truly, this is probably the most important choice we’ve made. I’ve learned that there are times when it’s crucial to be flexible. Some days as a parent, you need to bend the rules a bit. Super rainy stretch of weather? Of course we’ll watch a little extra screen time. Fun new movie out at the theater? You can bet we’ll head out to see it. [Bonus points if it’s inspired by a book though, so we can read the book first and compare!] Family movie nights, days spent with Nana & Grandpa, blizzards, mornings when #thelittleone has woken up super early and we just can’t adult yet… They all call for a little extra screen time. Everything in moderation. Extend yourself a bit of grace in these moments.
Interested in finding out more about The Toy Association and their ‘Genius Of Play’ initiative? They’ve got information on the benefits of play, ideas for fun, toy recommendations, and much more. Check the links below to see more!
How Is Your Family Making Screen Time Work? Let Me Know About Your Choices In The Comments!