Raising kids in the digital age can come with its fair share of challenges, but those challenges seem to multiply when you’re tackling them as a single parent. It can be tricky to monitor your kids’ screen time every day if you’re managing a household independently. So how can you get your kids to cut down on their screen time when you may not even know exactly how many hours a day they may be spending on their phones, laptops, or sitting in front of the TV?
Thankfully, there are a few fun and easy steps you can take to curb your children’s reliance on screens for their entertainment. With just a few minor changes to your home and some simple investments, you can help your kids feel naturally interested in finding their entertainment away from their phones and tablets.
Here are our top 6 ways to get your kids to cut down on their screen time without forcing a non-tech agenda.
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that your home has plenty of non-tech activities for your kids to enjoy. And the best place to start here is by simply stocking up on some basic arts and crafts supplies. This can be as easy as jumping online to order some paints, watercolour pencils, and other artsy essentials. We recommend shopping for arts supplies on eBay via Qantas Shopping to earn Qantas Points as you shop. This will help you enjoy extra value on all your supply runs!
Once you’ve sourced all your arts and crafts supplies, all that’s left to do is organise them around a crafts station in your home. Having these creative amenities on hand will encourage your kids to busy themselves with glue and scissors rather than opting for the passive and detached form of entertainment that accompanies staring at a screen for hours on end.
If your kids still need a little extra push to start using your arts and crafts station, then why not offer to hang up their portraits on the fridge or perhaps even in frames around the house? The opportunity to have their work on display will definitely inspire a few kids to start flexing their creative muscles.
Do you remember your own family games nights? Chances are they had everyone seated around a table playing Monopoly or Cluedo. Well, if you’re feeling nostalgic for all those board game sessions, then why not schedule your own family board game night for you and your own kids?
This can be as easy as laying out some snacks, setting up a playlist, and getting your kids deep into a game of Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Jenga, or any other board game of their choice. If you have older kids (tweens or teens) to cater to, then you may even play some games with more mature themes, like the Family Edition of Cards Against Humanity.
You can make this particular low-tech idea even more fun by inviting other friends and family to your family game board night. That way, your kids can enjoy some screen-free quality time with not only you, but perhaps even their cousins and classmates as well.
It’s every parent’s dream that their child will just start reading of their own volition. But sadly, there seem to be more kids actively avoiding reading books than there are those who seek out fiction or nonfiction treasure troves. And whilst you may be able to bridge the gap by reading story books out loud to your younger kids, it can be a little trickier to encourage reading at home for older school-aged children.
Thankfully, the same approach you took with setting up your arts and crafts station could actually also encourage your kids to read independently. We’re talking about setting up a reading nook or corner in your home and setting it up so it adjoins some bookshelves. In short, why not add their very own mini home library to your kids’ rumpus room or perhaps even in their bedrooms?
With a cosy armchair and a little bit of light to read from, your kids will undoubtedly enjoy the little escape that comes from falling into a good book.
A lot of the low-tech or no-tech activities we’ve outlined so far have been indoor activities. For parents who want their kids spending more time outdoors, you’ll be happy to hear that there are also a fair few ways that you can encourage your children to spend more time outdoors than in the living room and parked in front of the television set.
For starters, why not turn your backyard into their very own jungle gym? By adding a playset, swingset, and perhaps even a trampoline to your backyard space, your kids can feel free to expend all their energy on outdoor play activities rather than cooped up inside after school or on the weekends.
Just be sure to take your kids’ ages into consideration when designing your backyard space, just to ensure that your outdoor play equipment is all age appropriate. It’s unlikely that your teenager will make much use of a swingset, for instance, but they may get plenty of use out of a soccer pitch.
And speaking of soccer pitches, if your older kids have started to play some interschool sports, then another great way of getting them to cut down on their screen time outside of school hours, is to take a vested interest in those sporting activities. Play goalie to their scorer, or try and learn some of the techniques and movements they’ve picked up in their own sports practice.
If your kids aren’t playing interschool sports, you may even opt to take up some outdoor sports activities with them. This can be anything from bike riding to paragliding – whatever you or your kids may be interested in that can be enjoyed outside of your home and backyard!
Not only will taking on these outdoor activities help keep both you and your kids fit and healthy, but it’ll also ensure that you’re all far too tired at the end of every day to retreat to your computer screens.
Last but certainly not least, parents always have the option to plan a great day out or perhaps even some weekend trips with their kids. This can be a great way of inspiring your kids to engage with the wider world around them and to leave their own comfort zones.
Your day trips could be anything from a trip to the zoo to a trip down the coast for a nice beach day or makeshift sightseeing tour. There’s nothing like travel to gain a little perspective and realise just how small your screen-based activities really are.
And for parents who want to get their kids more interested in outdoor sporting activities, you’ll find plenty of great destinations around Australia where you can savour the great outdoors and all the heart-healthy activities that come with being out in the bush.
With these tips and tricks at your disposal, you should be able to tear your kids away from their video games for at least a good couple of hours every week. And in those hours, they will undoubtedly get to experience all the benefits of playing sports, making art, and doing other puzzles that get their brains firing on all cylinders.
Hustling as a grown up requires bravery and perseverance under the easiest of circumstances, and as a single parent with a million other things to take care of, it’s an even more admirable feat. Property investment can be a great way to passively build your income, although it’s a decision that requires a lot of...
Taking a moment to express gratitude holds significant value, particularly for single parents who gracefully balance life’s demands. A gesture like flower gifting can beautifully convey your appreciation for their dedication. Flowers are more than just a gift. They symbolise recognition and support for the incredible job they do every day. If you’re considering a...