Involve your kids in happier activities to reduce screen time

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By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

New Delhi– “I miss the good old busy mornings of packing lunch, braiding my daughter’s hair, nagging my son to be ready on time and dropping them off at the bus stop. What replaces all this is screens. Lunch boxes come in the form of meals served on study tables, staring at gadgets,” says Divya Singh Vishwanath, Lifestyle Blogger and Stylist.

But what is the solution? School is online and so are submissions’, extra classes and social activities. This is worrying, but Divya suggests some fun solutions to reduce screen-time:

* Board games: Get a few that interests the kids, as children of all ages enjoy these and there are so many available; something is sure to work. The best is to involve them in choosing. You could teach them a few card games or tricks as well.

* Art: Works great even if neither of you is artistic. You could even make a board game like snakes and ladders and knots and crosses at home. It gets the kids all excited and off the screen. Try paper-mache or pottery or simple paint and paper. Mandala art books are a good idea. Even if nothing comes out of the craft sessions, you and your kids have had a lot of fun and that counts.

* Puzzles: Kids of all ages love puzzles and every possible puzzle is available online.

* Cooking: Making dinner or evening snacks and cleaning up could be a part of family activity. Your meals will be delicious, it’s good bonding time, kids will learn about nutrition, you would have kept them away from screens and the food will finish without a fuss.

* Dancing: How about a little workout before bed? And what better way to do that than a quick dance! It’s fun and good exercise.

* Reading time: Get your kids to read every day. Discussing the story afterwards is super fun. Change a scenario in the book and ask them to add to the story. If not the book, give them any situation and ask them to make a story around it. You will be surprised at the ideas they come up with.

* Make studying fun: With lockdown, life is boring for them as it is. Make studies fun, I taught my kids simple addition and subtraction by playing snakes and ladders. We wrote alphabets on rocks and made words; a box of dice was used to do math sums; word blocks were used to make sentences; a candy for every paragraph written; words followed by a small drawing; a representation of a story/essay through a drawing. It’s tough but you will manage.

* Routine: This is very important for kids and for grownups (of course with some flexibility). In my experience, a set waking up time and sleeping time is a good start.

* Physical Activity: Try making them play a sport every day, be it a trek or a run, a long walk, tennis, badminton, anything that can be arranged. It’s good for their health, their energy gets used up and they sleep well. If nothing is possible, get innovative. Hide the puzzle pieces around the house and ask them to find it and all to be done without pausing. A treasure hunt around the house is a good idea too. So is climbing stairs. Just a few examples.

* Conversation: Talk to them. Share how your day went and ask them to do the same. No bond is built better than by talking and listening. Ask them for their thoughts on certain decisions you need to take. It’s beautiful to hear their views and opinions on things and situation. (IANS)

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