Saturday, June 14, 2014

Getting Your Kids Away From TV & Video Games ~ Tori

In today's world there is a lot of controversy over kids and TV/video game time. From monitoring what your children watch/play to how much they are watching/playing. Wherever you go I guarantee you can always find someone to strike up a conversation on this topic.
This week we are talking about ways to get your child to turn off the TV and engage in other activities.

Before we go on let me first say that I hope nobody takes this as a lecture. I am in no way perfect, and I admittedly do allow my kids daily TV and video game time. They are given roughly an hour or two of television time per day (depending on school breaks, weekends, rainy days, etc) Those hours are for watching TV or playing video games not that many hours dedicated to each separate one. Some people think it's a little excessive, but I don't think it's that bad. That gives each child (I have two) thirty minutes each for a personal preference of show or video game. Usually I do time in the morning and then time in the evening. Sometimes they can earn movie's they are allowed to watch also. As a stay at home mom this can come in handy for me because I don't have anyone to help me with my children, and this keeps them out of trouble for a time when I need to get certain things done (mopping, scouring bathrooms, etc).
We also have family movie time once a week where we all sit down to watch a movie, have popcorn, etc.

But it is extremely important to get those kiddos out from in front of the television all the time. Here's a few things we do in our house that we have found to be quite successful:

  • "Creative Time". We like to get this time in every day. Even if it's only for 15 or 20 minutes. This is a time when our kids can choose to either paint, color, draw, play play dough, etc. We always make sure to keep stocked up on these types of things. It's a fun time to stretch your child's imagination and they can create anything they want.

  • Reading time. This is something we do every day. We sit down and read with our kids daily out loud and help them along. They learn new words, get to hear great stories, it helps build their vocabulary, and build their reading skills. After about thirty minutes of this (or more depending on the day or how much time we have) we try to get an additional twenty to thirty minutes of "quiet" reading time. They know during this time they can look at any books they want and look at pictures or read the books. This gives mommy and daddy time to also sneak in some quiet reading time, and it's something we always try to do together. The kids think it's great that we all get to sit on the couch and just look at books, read, and relax. So it's always good to make sure your child (and you) have plenty of books also.

  • Outdoor activities. These are also a GREAT way to get your child out from in front of the television. What child doesn't love the outdoors? You can go to the park as a family, go outside for creative time, reading time, do some outdoor exploring, or just play games out in your backyard. Go bike riding, go swimming (if it's warm enough), go on a picnic. Anything to connect as a family and unwind. It is a great way to get your kids out from in front of the old tube, and they will undoubtedly burn off some of that extra energy. This isn't always the best to do on rainy days, but still an option. Even in the winter go out and have a snowball fight, build a snowman, make an ice castle. In the rain if it's warm and there's no severe storms or lightening go jump in a few puddles even if it's just for ten minutes. Sail a paper boat in a puddle. It may get wet and sink or not float for more than a few seconds, but it's still fun. :)

  • Fitness. Get your child active. There are tons of things kids can do to be active. From things like yoga, jumping jacks, etc., you can also do a little dance party. It is so much fun, and something your kids will definitely remember.

  • Cooking. Let your child help make stuff. My kids LOVE helping bake bread, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, scrambled eggs, cakes, spaghetti, etc. The list is limitless really. And there's tons of kid friendly recipes your child can engage in. There's tons of kid friendly cookbooks at your local library, or that you can order for you child. There's ideas on Google, Pinterest, and YouTube as well.

  • Gardening. Even if you don't necessarily have a yard space to work in there are always potted plants. Start a little indoor herb garden or plant some indoor or outdoor plants in pots. We live in an apartment right now so while we don't have yard space to work in we are working on a balcony garden. Sure it's all in pots but it's tons of fun for the kids and us. Also we get our own homegrown fruit! Right now we have tomatoes and strawberry plants. We also have some potted flowers out there. We have bigger plans for next year but for the time being it's working out great with what we have. The kids take a lot of joy and feel very accomplished to see the actual fruits (or vegetables) of their labors. ;) It's a way to keep them busy all the while doing something big and productive. Or let them play in a pot of dirt. Build some mud pies or let them make a tiny fort or camp ground in a giant pot. There are tons of ways to have fun with this.

  • Board games & Puzzles. A bit old fashioned? Maybe, but also a lot of fun. We are huge into board games and puzzles around our house. The kids love them too. We do puzzles, play card games, board games, and it's so much fun. Sometimes the kids don't even want to watch TV or play video games because they want to play a card or board game. And don't forget you can set up dominoes and knock them down and build card houses too! Don't let the electronic filled modern world take away some of the old time favorites. :)

And those are just a few of the things you can do at home. There are many other ways to pull your kids out from in front of that TV and take that game controller out of their hands. If it's something fun enough you won't even get any complaints!

Now some of you may be thinking of how in the world you could come up with tons of ideas for these types of activities. What if your kids get bored with these things, and how do you make them more interesting?
Well that's where the world wide web comes in handy. As bad as the web can be it can also be a wonderful resource. If you find yourself running out of ideas, or just looking for something different and fun to do with your children get online and search it.
There's Google, there's YouTube, there are tons of blogs out there, and best of all there is Pinterest.
Pinterest is chock full of thousands of ideas. I am a huge Pinterest fan. I don't get to get on there as much as I use to but it is so easy to use and if you haven't tried it yet I highly recommend it.
Just go to Pinterest and type in the search bar what you want to know:

  • Rainy Day Activities
  • Fun in the rain
  • Kids DIY Projects
  • Painting with kids
  • Make your own play dough
  • Outdoor activities to do with your child

You get the picture I'm sure. There are tons of ideas, and you will be so glad to have it as a resource. We have had a lot of fun with Pinterest, and it has also been a life saver when the norm becomes a little dull or boring now and again.

With that I will leave you. I hope you've found our articles and advice to be helpful too you. Feel free to share how you get your kids from out in front of that TV. What are some of your children's favorite activities to do indoor and/or out?

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