Kids love screens. Whether they’re watching YouTube videos, building elaborate worlds or battling dragons, it can be tricky to tear children away from the glowing glass portal. If you want to convince kids that there’s life beyond the TV, you’d better make it interesting, otherwise they’ll moan and groan until they’re reunited with their screen.
Work for a coveted item. While nobody wants to encourage their kids to be materialistic, we can occasionally use their covetousness to work in our favour.
Does your kid hanker for some new toy, game or experience? Or are they clamouring for new football boots? Great. You can use this as a hook to get them involved in other character- and skill-building activities. If they want something of value, they can work for it. You might get them washing cars, mowing lawns, sorting junk – or even selling off their old unwanted toys on eBay.
Repair something great. If your child has a broken toy, furniture or play equipment, you might work with them to restore it to full working order. This could mean something simple like replacing batteries or fixing a puncture so they can ride their bike, but by involving them in the process you can help them enjoy the end result even more. And hopefully, their desire to use the item will be motivating enough to draw them away from screens.
Teach your kids essential life skills. Need to check your oil or refill your screen wash? Got a bit of DIY that’s long overdue? Start getting the kids to help. While having little helpers can slow things down, these are opportunities to work alongside your kids and to show them the essential tasks that make the world go round. And many kids will love having a peek inside the adult world – and learning new stuff.
Play ‘would you rather’? This simple game is an ideal way to liven up other activities. If the conversation ever runs out, just start asking your child questions like:
Would you rather eat only chocolate or sweets for the rest of your life?
Would you rather ride a lion or a bear?
Strive towards a goal. What does your child want to achieve? They might want to learn their times tables, run a mile, ride a bike without stabilisers, write a poem or learn how to do a handstand. Explore your child’s ambitions and then help them work towards them.