It started with video-chatting, then a glimpse of an advertisement, watching his videos on mommy’s phone, a funny cartoon on TV, The Lion King movie, and now he’s on his own pressing buttons on an iPad.
On this post we will discuss:
- The Consequences of Screen Time to Toddlers
- Alternative Activities for Children Instead of Screen Time
- Creating a Structure to your Toddler’s Day
- More Toddler Activity Ideas
- Distracted Parenting
How much screen time is too much for kids?
The Consequences of Screen Time to Toddlers
- The earlier children are hooked on screens, the more difficult it is to wean them off.
- Screen time doesn’t allow much room for critical thinking and problem solving as learning in the real world does.
- A sedentary lifestyle for children leads to poor coordination.
- The instant gratification environment of the internet shortens the child’s attention span.
Our Experience on the Bad Effects of Too Much Screen
Time to our Toddler
Let’s get real here and let me admit that as much as I love giving Seb his toddler activities so he can veer away from screen time, I also have my guilty moments when I let a gadget babysit him for a while so I can do chores.
It is inevitable I tell you and please do not judge me for this. I believe that screen time is not bad. Depending on how you let your kid get exposed to it, It’s a simple matter of balance, knowing when is too much and what to do about it.
We can immediately tell if our child has become too attached to gadgets. And this is when we draw the line and step up as parents, to take action and that means limiting screen time.
People vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com
Let me share my parenting ways to engage my toddler in activities that reflect real play. Wherein he gets to develop, learn and aid him to become school-ready and hopefully, to gradually cut back screen time.
Alternative Activities for Children Instead of Screen Time
1. Nature Walk
We do it in the morning or afternoon. And if we’re having a good day we do both times.
It serves a dual purpose of exploration and exercise to us. My toddler gets his souvenir such as a rock, leaf, flower or stem of a tree.
His socialization skills are also practice from greeting the neighbors along the way.
This takes close to an hour or more depending on our route. Based from observation, we are extending our time longer as he had become more aware and curious of everything. He stops so often and lingers.
Babies are born with an intense desire to learn about their world, so they’re highly motivated to interact with people and objects around them – the beginning of real play.
2. Art and Craft Activities
To enhance my toddler’s fine motor skills, we do painting, scissor skills, pasting and more eye-hand coordination activities.
Also, to familiarize him with shapes, colors and the STEM concept.
He can’t do it perfectly yet but what’s important is his exposure to these things. Mommy still do most of the work but his messy add on and placement of materials on our project gives it a personality and uniqueness.
There are different types of Play but I will focus on the 2 most beneficial.
We all know how important play is to our kids. It’s their work for the day because through it that they are exposed and learning on their capabilities and understand the cause and effect of things. Let me share with you our own approach to this concept.
There are so many things that you can use. It can be rice, beans, sand, soil, clay and others.
Since this is a messy activity, we do it before bath time which is another form of sensory play and my son’s favorite too.
Create your own Sensory Sand with this 2 easy ingredients!
Get Your Toddler Busy With Sensory Play Using DIY Moon Sand
No Cook Play Dough Recipe
This uses the imagination, pretend play and serves as bonding time.
Toddlers are very fond of anything where they can fit in and I want to share with you one great toy that keeps my toddler occupied where he gets to do creative play at its best.
My House from 4D Pocket Ph. See photos below or much better to watch the video to see and join in on our excitement during our unboxing, assembling and playing of it.
Want this for your kid? Check out the following links to know more about their products.
Before his nap we do story telling which only takes a while because he falls asleep easily as he’s max out from his busy morning.
We do this at night too before bedtime when he is more relaxed and is able to answer my questions about the book we are reading.
I find this as the best time to teach him something new as well, because I know that he absorbed concepts more easily if taught during this time.
5. Literacy and Writing Activities
This is where we do teaching of basic concept lessons such as numbers, alphabet, words and more.
We use books, charts, flashcards and worksheets for this since toddlers are natural visual learners.
Crawl like a bug through this fun maze from Education.com! Find more educational games for all ages at Education.com!
One of the best resources for worksheets I recommend is education.com
They have a wide and great selections of lesson plans and worksheets for different ages, levels and concepts.
Another fun activity to do with your child is to customize your own worksheet. Making it together will make it more special and memorable.
Worksheet Generator | education.com
6. Singing and Dancing
Nursery rhymes and action words.
Singing is an excellent way to learn. Also, this will become your child’s advantage once he’s in school as they will be singing nursery rhymes in class often. While dancing gets your child’s energy going and helps with his motor skills.
7. Let your Kid Play with Other Children
Real play outside. Where they can run, look at things together curiously, speak their own mumbled words and know each other better.
By playing together, youngsters learn to get along with other people. They discover how others’ mind work, developing empathy.
Going back to the basics is essential, and that is real play.
8. Let them be bored
Creativity starts with boredom. We don’t always have to make sure that they are doing something. They need to know independent play and down time. For this unstructured time that they begin to pick up a book, look at pictures more closely, explore their own curiosity and more.
Give your child some space and see what he does. It will surprise you of how far their imagination can go.
These activities are also good components in creating a structure to your toddler’s day.
I will be realistic and tell you that this is an ideal concept. This cannot be done consistently on a daily basis. But making an effort to commit your child to this set of activities even twice a week will help them to focus, learn and be engaged enough resulting to less screen time.
Here are more Activity Ideas to keep your Toddler busy and learning. Please see related posts.
15 Developmental Activities To Do With Your Baby
Fun Activities That Will Keep Your Toddler Engaged For A Long Productive Time
Check out my own set of Printables too! Click here.
We as parents are their first teacher. Let’s do our part in giving them the best tools in learning. Our time and undivided attention to see what they are doing.
Even me at times is glued to my phone’s screen side by side with my toddler on his iPad. This is the common scenario of Distracted Parenting.
And lastly just for fun, Let’s see if you can relate to this post 🙂
Let’s focus and make this week count by packing it with toddler activities and parent-child bonding resulting to less screen time, okay?
Parenting, Kids and Screen Time
What’s your take on the parenting, kids and screen time triangle? Let me know in the comments below.
If you find this article helpful, please share!
Photos credited to http://www.freepik.com
I think we’re all guilty of giving our kids screen time, but I love all these ideas to stimulate learning. It’s all about balance!
Thanks for this mommy Nessy! I really love learning more how other parents wean their kids from screen time. Same goal I have and am working on with and for my 3yo. 🙂
Thanks for the helpful tips dear! It is very important for the parents to guide their kids and limit the using of gadgets. So true, we should give them activities that would develop their fine and motor skills instead of letting them play the whole day in their gadgets. I could not imagine what would happen to those kids who were expose too much in digital games.
Love your honesty here! I agree that kids of this time will have screen time, it is just up to us as the parent to monitor it.
So important to make sure to reduce screen time for kids! I also think encouraging your child to play independently is really really important. They develop such crucial skills when left to their own devices instead of having someone or something entertain them all day!
This is a great list – we like to play outside or with our neighbors when the weather cooperates. I am also like you who does not think that screen time is bad and have seen my kids learn words from watching and hearing songs that are sung. We do try to balance it though.
I love this list of activities! It is so important to limit screen time and these activities will make that easier!
I really loved this. I think screen time is ok but it needs to be balanced like you mentioned. These are some great activities for kids to do. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for these great ideas. We’re on day 3 of snow days and probably have a few more… I will be using some of these ideas asap.
These are great alternatives for screen time and as the kids get older the schools will expose them to tablets/ipads anyway. My kids enjoyed a screen free weekend!
These are great ideas to help keep kids busy. I did all of these things when my kids were little. Parents think that IPads with educational activities are good, but that is still not good. Kids need to be outside running and pretending. They need to have time to create things and live life in real time. Not on a screen.
These are all great ideas and in fact, I plan to try some of them with my toddler. I can see her attention span decreasing and for sure she is addicted to YouTube. Thanks for sharing!
Great eye opener and ideas. I’m definitely guilty of this. Thanks for sharing.
Hey these are great ideas thanks for the post. My oldest loves screen time but I feel like I offer all of these other activities throughout the day as well. Luckily my youngest hates the TV:)
My daughter is absolutely addicted to craft & my son loves nothing more than watering the garden. Sometimes these simple activities are best. =)
I love this blog post! I will have to check out the website you recommend for worksheets. I agree that it’s all about balance. 🙂