Spend time with kids more often without the aid of screens to feel closer and more connected.

Photo by @multiplyingmorrows, featuring French Gray Floral Collection

In a busy world of work, school, extracurricular activities and other commitments, it’s increasingly difficult to find “quality” time as a family. Then it begins to feel like screens – whether the TV, tablets or phones – are taking over valuable family time. As easy as it is to consider family time a movie night at home, there are other ways to spend time with kids without screens. After all, the average child (0-8 years old) already has screen time for just over 2 hours per day. Before you know it, your cute toddler will be 6 years old, then 16 and struggling for more time alone. Make use of the time you have to spend time with kids without screens, and start the practice earlier rather than later.

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How to Swap Screen Time for Family Time

  1. Take after dinner walks together – The dishes can wait. After dinner, take some time as a family to go for a walk. Assuming the weather permits, spend time with kids outdoors with a short walk to burn off any leftover energy before settling down for the night. It’s a chance to talk to your kids about their day, or simply push your little one in a stroller for some fresh air and quiet time.
  1. Play together – As kids grow up, it’s easy to forget to play with them. Their vibrant imagination allows them to play on their own or with a sibling, but you should be there too. Even if it’s just a short amount of time, playing with them is a great way to spend time with kids and embrace an activity they love. For older kids, make time to play games with them.
  1. Let kids help – Most kids love to be helpful! Even if it’s a tiny task, you can spend time with your kids by letting them help you with daily tasks at home. Ask them to help you get the mail, lick envelopes, make dinner, sweep the floor or even fix a leaky sink by handing you tools. Sure, they may not always be the best helpers, but that’s not why you asked. Use these as both teaching moments and opportunities for quality time.

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  1. Plan a craft – Prioritize time for making a small craft with your kids on a consistent basis. Not only is crafting a great way to spend time with kids but it encourages their creativity and keeps them busy away from screens. Browse Pinterest for simple craft ideas (perfect for rainy days) or try out a craft box subscription. You can even incorporate the outdoors by having them scavenge the yard for leaves and sticks to use as craft supplies!
  1. Read together – One more great way to swap screen time for family time is to read together every day, such as before bed. Start by reading to them to spend a little time cuddling together – every parent’s favorite! – then transition into letting them read to you. Keep screens out of it by using traditional paper books. Not only does reading together improve speech skills and reading retention but it gives you an opportunity to spend time with your kids every day.

Set an example for your kids by reducing screen time yourself. After all, they learn from watching! Be present with them, and keep your phone off on walks together and the laptop closed during craft time. As busy as your life surely is, you’ll never get these precious moments with your kids back.

What are some other ways to spend time with kids without screens that will build your relationship? We always love to hear your ideas!

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Holly Wade

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