Watching television is definitely one of my favorite things to do, and my kids are no different. I feel like letting your kids watch T.V. at all has become a taboo thing, but I'm all for it because it's a form of entertainment that can be inspiring, fun and educational. Completely removing a form of communication that is a huge part of our modern society feel extreme to me. Just like anything, too much a good thing can be harmful, so learning how to balance everything in life is essential. The American Academy of Pediatrics used to say that only two hours of screen time should be allowed, but even they are adjusting their views according to this recent article in Forbes.
I'll admit there have been seasons when the television was on non-stop even if they weren't watching it. This happened a lot when I had a newborn and Elle had just turned three. But now that I have my act together, we have more structure, and Levi and Elle play together. Limits have been set again that are much healthier.
We're trying to stay around two hours of screen time a day (iPad and/or TV), but some days it's less and some days it's a bit more. Most times, it's a show or two in the morning, one show at lunch and one before bed. It has been so helpful to watch the clock on the amount of screen time because it showed me that having it on was more my habit than theirs. They occupy themselves just fine and I just needed to be disciplined about setting a timer.
I'm not the best at planning arts and crafts for the kids, but simply having some special toys for Elle and Levi that they look forward to playing with has helped. Instead of always leaving the toys lying around for them, I took advice from a friend and set some toys in a basket that only comes out during certain times of day. Elle particularly enjoys coloring, dramatic play and building blocks, so I got these Elle personalized notebooks from May Designs that she loves to draw in. Some pages have things she can color in and others are blank for her to create her own art. I love that because it encourages her to be creative in her own way, and to work on coloring in the lines too.
Playing with blocks is something that they love to do together. Well, actually, Levi just loves to knock down whatever Elle builds, but it's fun nonetheless. These magnetic blocks by Tegu are a huge hit in our home, and they look pretty too. It has been fun teaching Elle about magnetism and unseen forces.
I'd love to know what some of your screen-free toys or activities are in your home. Of course, playing outside is the best, but when it's too hot or too cold what things do you like to do?
Photos by Rennai Hoefer; products gifted by May Designs & Tegu