Thursday, April 9, 2015

20 easy tricks to keep your toddlers and kids out of their gadgets for the meantime

Tired of day in day out seeing your brood glued on their ipads addicted to games such as eye-straining clash of clans? And your little boys hooked on minecraft?

It's time to manage your kid's screentime on tv, ipad and other electronic device.

If they cannot avoid then at least reduce exposure.  

Lead example by putting away your own smartphone when you get home from work. 

Oh, ok. I'm guilty.

Sometimes I would hear my kids complain they're "bored". 

And it struck me that they're the typical kids who got overstimulated by those gadgets. 

That's why when they're stripped off of ipads, they can't seem to think of anything else to do!

Before we establish no-gadgets rules today and days to come, first we explain to our kids the reasons why we want to limit their exposure. 

Aside from ill health effects like vision problems, our kid's sleeping patterns could be disrupted most of the time. I know it sounds nerdy and all but the scientific reason behind some of our bad nights could be....(behold!).. this "blue light" emitted by the ipads screens.

So are you planning to lay down a strict rule of no-gadgets-before-bedtime now?

Try first two-hours-screentime-per-day just for this summer. Come school time another rule of gadgets-only-at-weekend will be imposed.

But these rules are so easy to break, right?

And so I started making some easy (and silly!) tricks to get my kids attention away from the  screens.

I bet you in some other way have done these too!

1. Walk your kid to the nearest ice cream parlor. 
Little faces light up each time ice cream is served. Don't take your car, the idea is to steal those precious minutes away from screens. Do walk and enjoy slurping that cool and refreshing treat while going home.  Just don't forget an umbrella. And wipes that come in handy for dripping melts.

2. Let them wash the dishes
Or do the laundry. The world is full of children wanting to act like adults!

3. Try hands clapping game. 
Too bad a classic filipino rhyme "nanay tatay" is not so popular anymore. Modern kids' rhymes go something like -"pop cola. masarap. inumin. pop cola masarap inumin. my name is sharon cuneta, robin padilla. era laki mata. era laki nunal. angel, angel. devil, devil. sinong di marunong magbasa?" I know, right. The lyrics sound insane. And the kids have odd hands actions that go with the lyrics. But it's fun. Brings out the child in you. :)   

4. Play street games.
If you prefer outdoor games, introduce your kids to old filipino street games. It's time to relive those simple but fun games such as piko, luksong tinik, langit lupa, patintero or chinese garter. 

5. Challenge them.
When your kids are quite busy with their high tech gadgets, catch them off guard by challenging them. Blurt out something like "let's see who can..." or "let's see who can bring me...."  

6. Play board games. 
Indoor activities for your kids include board games such as monopoly, cash flow, scrabble, etc. Playing board games is fun, plus it stimulates the brain. So double the benefits!  

7. Throw a party.
Using recycled materials at home, simply throw any kind of party you can think of. Be it pajama, tea, dress up, tent, etc. Make costumes out of your scarfs, bed sheets and belts that hung innocently in your wardrobe.

8. Throwback.
Open that baby book once again and laugh at their baby photos. Throwback pictures are always funny, right.

9. Read to them their favorite books.
Snuggle under a blanket and read those favorite stories until yawning time.

10. Swim by the house.
Air up that inflatable pool. Or prepare your biggest planggana. Fill it with water. Let your kids play with water guns and pool toys.

11. Try those kids-friendly recipes. 
Bake oatmeal cookies together. Let them make their own pastillas. Or chill their own mango float.  

12. Encourage your kids to embrace nature
Let them plant monggo seeds at that empty can. Advise to water their plants everyday. Their enthusiasm on nature will surprise you once they see those sprouts grow. Plus they don't mind getting muddy. 

13. Look for simple and effective arts and craft ideas
Prepare them tools- ornaments, decors, paints, scissors, colors they need for creative play. Keep calm and craft on!

14. Let your kid grab that videoke microphone. 
Most kids love to sing. And a filipino happy home uses a Magicsing for no occasion at all.  :)

15. Ask them open-ended questions
My eldest child in her most innocent tone once asked me how do mama and papa make babies. (Uh-oh!) Now's the time to take your turn for inquiries.  Just ask your kids about anything. "What galaxy could the E.T. be? What would you do if zombies flock to our house?" Trust me, their answers and all of their imaginative ideas will beat you. 

16. Start making snack time fun and independent.
Let them eat a bag of squash seeds on their own. Because their hands will become quite busy cracking the seed shells, you can expect those gadgets are laid down for a while. 

17. Buy real toys
Instead of that virtual Minecraft, give them real lego blocks! 

18. Be an actor.
Pretend to be engrossed reading magazines or books. After a while, your kid will be curious and ask "what are you reading?" and then answer him with an exaggerated story!

19. Involve them in decluttering or organizing.

Work together to sort and pair down items. Place labeled boxes at hand for them to store their stuff and bins for them to dispose broken or damaged items. 

20. If anything else fails, turn on your beast mode.
Destroy their gadgets. Hide, or "misplace" their chargers. (Lol.)

I guess that's it for now...

Can you add something to my list?!

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