9 clever ways to get children off their screens (without them realising)

Kinderling News & Features

We all know that too much screen time is not great for kids, but we also all fear the techno tantrums that ensue!

Here a few sneaky methods for keeping the screen switched off for a while – and the kids won’t even notice!

1. Jump into the kitchen

There is nothing like the words ‘cupcake’ or ‘pizza’ to strike joy into the hearts of little people and encourage them to ditch the tablet on the spot.

Not only is cooking together lots of fun, you can check ‘de-screen’ and ‘dinner’ off your to-do list in one fell swoop, if you are clever!

2. Search for treasure

Venture forth, and out of the house, with a list of treasures to spot together. Fun, huh?!

We’re thinking you could start with something like – four feathers, two black stones, five leaves, three flowers, something left behind, something green, something round, something long – for starters. 

Don’t forget to take a pen to tick your things off, or even give your child a clipboard to elevate their detective work.

3. Story night

Sometimes the beauty of screens is that – to your child – it feels like someone is entertaining them, and that they are not alone.

Swap the app’s stimulation for some one-on-one parent-child interaction, with a stack of books, a nice drink each and a plate of yummy snacks. Pull up a blanket and leaf your way through some lovely books together. Because of course, kids will happily choose some sincere and snuggly attention from a parent over a device.

4. Dance together

Yes, kids love watching Peppa Pig, but they also love shaking their little booties alongside their mum or dad and letting off some goofy steam! 

If you’re not sure what to listen to, fire up our carefully curated playlists (no swearing or sexist language, we promise!), like Mixtapes, Retro Rewind and Digital Disco that get kids shimmying like tiny bosses!

Listen to Kinderling Conversation:

5. Pillow forts

There is nothing kids love more than deconstructing the lounge room into a comfy wonderland of cushy delight!

Give your children permission to pillow fort to their heart’s content and suggest they take some special toys into their newly built HQ for some squishy screen-free fun.

6. Pet pampering 

Very often furry friends are an excellent incentive to switching off. Suggest walking, bathing or massaging your pooch together, or head out to the backyard and invent some new doggy (or kitty) games! 

You could even make some pet-friendly crafty gems together? The perfect pillow for your cat? A sparkly collar accessory for your pup? Think outside the screen!

7. Get messy 

Devices become easy babysitters when parents are keen to keep kids contained and out of mischief. It stands to reason that letting your child go a little but nuts – under supervision – might be the perfect antidote. 

Making play dough together, mixing up some mud pies, getting messy with clay or even some simple paper mâché are all brilliant hands-on alternatives to the digital tap-and-swipe routine. Not only that, (most) kids love getting messy! 

When you’re done, grab a cup of tea and a chat-worthy position on the bathroom floor – as they tidy up in the tub.

8. Explore your town

Pop on some comfy shoes, dress for the weather and take public transport into your town or city to explore together. Plan ahead and nut out parks, museums, sculptures and snack stops your child might enjoy discovering. 

You could even create a map to show your child where you are headed – and they can stow it away as a keepsake when your day is done. Screens are left far behind with this digital detox idea (unless you’re snapping selfies of your adventures, which is allowed, of course!)

9. Use communal screens instead of individual screens

If it’s one of those days and your child really wants to zone out and screen up, maybe you could switch the small screen for a big one and watch something together? 

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with couch potato-ing on a challenging day, and it’s the perfect opportunity to snuggle up and spend some quality time together (with a bowl of popcorn, ideally.) 

We told you we had you covered in the screen-free adventures game! Now which to do first …

This post originally appeared on Babyology.