How To Reduce Screen Time For Kids!

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I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but I personally find screens extremely addicting. It’s a real struggle for me as an adult and even harder for my children. The reason why it’s so hard to pull away is because they were designed to be extremely addicting! Helping to train our kids to reduce screen time and use screens effectively and not get lost in it is an important skill.

Because screens are addicting you can expect to get a bit of lash back at the beginning when you are cutting down screen time. This is pretty normal and won’t last forever. It’s important to understand the damaging effects too much screen time can cause. I find this helps with the determination to reduce screen time and not give into your kids whining. At the bottom of this post I will have a LIST OF RESOURCES I find super helpful that keep my kids engaged, occupied and build on their creative skills so they don’t rely on screens!

The Effects Of Screen Time On Kids

Aggression

There are reasons behind increase anger and aggression after too much screen time. Your brain is literally over stimulated and goes into a fight or flight mode. The brain is exhausted and depleted.

Have you ever noticed after watching a movie or even two the kids all of a sudden seem to be highly strung. Over stimulated, running around, more whiney and quarrelsome afterwards.

Obesity

The reason behind too much screen time causing obesity is the lack of physical activity. Our bodies were made to move around and burn up energy definitely kids’ bodies! If they are sitting still for long periods of time, they aren’t burning up any energy. Plus, many kids tend to snack while on the screens which increases calorie intake.

Kids need to be outdoors and moving their bodies not sitting for long periods of time.

Sleep Deprivation

Screen devices emit blue light which stops melatonin production. You need melatonin production to help you sleep. Too much screens definitely at night can have a negative impact on the quality of sleep. Increasing how long it takes for the mind to shut down and decreasing the body’s ability to go into a deep sleep. Anyone who doesn’t sleep well isn’t the happiest in the mornings. The body needs adequate amounts of sleep to recover and rejuvenate. It’s recommended to have no screens several hours before going to bed so your body can produce the hormones it needs to get you sleeping.

It’s important to reduce screen time at night so everyone can get a better’s night rest.

Decrease Social Skills

Too much screen time gets kids away from playing and interacting with people face to face. This is an important skill to learn while young. Children learn many life skills when interacting with others like conflict resolution, how to share, how to speak and make friends, learn to show empathy, learn how to work with others and speak with different people of different ages.

More and more people these days seem to be losing this simple skill of speaking to others. Kids who don’t practice when still young don’t necessarily pick this up when they become older. I don’t know if you have noticed how many people can be sitting next to each other all eyes on their devices oblivious to the world and what is happening around them.

Talk To Your Kids About Screens

The first step you should probably take when removing or limiting screens is to talk to your children about it. Tell them the reasons why you feel the need to reduce screen time. Discuss why screens are a treat and not a necessity. Write down together other things they can do instead of watching. Let your kids come up with things so that they are part of the process and can get more excited about not having screens. Just talking to your kids about this subject can drastically reduce the anger, rage and whininess from your kids because they know what to expect.

Remove The Screens From Sight

Have you ever heard the saying out of sight out of mind? Well, it holds true. If there are devices lying all around the temptation can be strong. If devices can be removed and put away out of sight that temptation is not there rubbing itself in their faces. It’s a good idea to put things in an inconvenient spot that no one wants to bother getting if possible. This little act can really help with the beginning stages of limiting or even cutting out screen time for your kids!

Be The Role Model

I have heard the saying “Do as I say not as I do”. But it’s a lot more compelling if someone actually does what they say. It can seem hypocritical if you tell your kids they are not allowed screens but then you are watching your favourite shows, watching videos on YouTube or playing games on a device. Also be clear if you are using a device for work tell them I need to be on this for work. It’s good to let them know you are actually doing something constructive and not just on it for fun.

Sometimes we really need to be that role model, that person they can look up too and learn from. It’s amazing how much our kids pick up from us even when we think they aren’t looking or noticing. Believe me they always notice! If you want to see a change you have to be the change!

Activities To Do Instead Of Screens

Reduce screen time with logic games
Rush hour logic game! So much fun link below in resource section.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. There are so many activities one can do instead of watching screens. I love having an assortment of books for my kids’ drawing books, activity books, board books, fiction and nonfiction books. Books are great for any and all ages! I’ll go by age from littles to bigger kids to give you some more age-appropriate ideas for the kids to help reduce screen time! Extra Resources linked below this section.

0-1 should not be watching period. Tummy time for the littlest one is important and a few toys to play with is pretty normal.

2-5 year olds can play with building blocks, look through picture books, build a train set, paint with water books, do a simple puzzle, draw, colour in colouring books, play with playdough, build forts or of course play outside!

6-9 year olds can start learning a craft. This is an awesome age to learn finger crochet, origami, drawing, painting, learn an instrument, soap carving, sewing, build Lego kits, playdough is still fun, obstacle courses outside, riding bikes, riding scooters, skateboarding, roller blading, sewing, read a book and so much more! Seriously let their imagination run wild!

10-14 year olds can do puzzles, crossword puzzles, sudoku, single player logic games, help with household chores and cooking. They can engage in outdoor activities, learn a new craft or master a craft, learn an instrument, learn a new language and so on!

15 year olds can do much the same things as above plus a bit more. They should be responsible enough that they can go out for a walk, take a hike, ride their bikes, scooters and skateboards around the block, prepare a meal for the family, help with cleaning up and household chores ect.

Create A New Routine

Watching Tv and being on screens becomes a habit and part of our normal everyday routine. It can be hard to reduce screen time at the beginning. Cutting back is the hardest part because now they need to figure out another way to occupy their time. Apparently, it takes 21 days for the brain to form new habits.

Instead of watching while eating a meal engage in conversation with one another around the dinner table. Instead of reaching for the iPad or other device when bored, start or continue some sort of bigger project like sewing, knitting crocheting, woodworking etc. Something that they can put down and pick up and continue working on slowly when they have time.

Go to the library and have stacks of books the kids can read. Have books in random places but in plain sight that might catch your children’s interest, so they go for that instead of a device. Once the screen habit is broken kids will automatically find ways to entertain themselves and keep busy and active!

Engage With Your Kids

When you reduce screen time kids tend to be bored and like to make it known loudly and repeatedly. Sometimes just engaging with our children for a little while everyday can really help. Play can become a lost skill and sometimes needs to be taught. Playing and interacting with them will help them become more creative and come up with their own ideas of fun things to do. Sometimes we just need to be there to show them how and guide them through the beginning processes of play. Don’t worry it’s not an all day thing but 30 minutes of dedicated time is enough for most children to be satisfied and be able to go off on their own.

I hope you found this post helpful and got some good tips from it. Below is some resources I have in my own home that have kept my kids pretty busy and happy!

Resources

This post contains affiliate links which means I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information see my policy page here.

Here are a few things we have in our homes and keep the kids pretty entertained!

Single player logic games any of the Thinkfun or Smart Games brands are pretty awesome!

Reduce screen time with logic games

Smart Games Jump in puzzle– These games are similar with different difficulty levels and lots of fun!

Logic games to reduce screen time with kids

ThinkFun Hopper Game– This game has several difficulty levels. It can get pretty tricky even for adults. You need to remove all the frogs but one by jumping over each one. There are rules to how you can jump.

Smart games coral reef magnetic puzzle-I love these magnetic puzzle games for when we are travelling! They have 3 different difficulty levels and are so fun! We have a mouse version.

Puzzles to help reduce screen time with kids.

200 piece Dinosaur puzzle Ravensburger– These have been very beautiful puzzles my kids have enjoyed they create puzzles for all ages and are beautiful to look at.

300 piece At the watering hole puzzle – Another beautiful puzzle my older daughter loved putting together.

Other Constructive things we have in our homes that our kids enjoy using and creating with!

Kids Fort Building Kit 111 pieces– This one is fun to create igloos, tents and any sort of building they can enter. Pull a cover over it and viola they are so entertained inside their fort or igloo. It comes with building ideas.

Reduce screen time with wooden building kits.

Kraftic Woodworking Building kit – My son loved building and painting the three builds in came with. It included a car, truck and an aeroplane. He loves playing with them now that he has already built and painted them.

Beeswax Candle Making Kit This one is really fun! My daughter and I even like to create these cute little candles. Comes with several candle making ideas and all the tools you need to make. When your kids are bored this is something fun to pull out! Hey they might even want to try and sell them encourage a bit of entrepreneur spirit!

Art Set 139 pack -This is a really lovely kit definitely recommend. So much enjoyment, encourage their artistic side with a truly lovely art set to keep kids and teens busy creating.

Kids logic maze to reduce screen time.

Gravitrax marble run – This will bring hours of enjoyment! It shows you how to set up several different types of runs, you can of course make your own and has different challenges to really get the mind going! Seriously we love this one and will be buying the extra expansion pieces for even more fun!

Hyponix zipline kits for backyards We will be setting this one up soon, it’s currently still in the box! But who doesn’t love a good flying fox and rock-climbing attachments to get kids outdoors!

Please let me know if you found this post helpful! I hope it helps you and your family reduce the amount of screen time in your home and engage in other activities!

4 thoughts on “How To Reduce Screen Time For Kids!”

  1. Screens are so addictive! It is a challenge as an adult, and much more so for children. There really are so many better options, it just takes intentionality!

  2. What a timely post for me. Screens are real struggle in my household. Thank you for the alternative ideas! My kids would love the logic games!

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