Most of us know, children do not need screen time to learn. I feel very strongly that children who play outside are doing what is best for their physical and mental health. I want my child to enjoy childhood the old fashioned way. I want to be the best parent I can possibly be; and I want my child to grow and learn in the most healthy way possible.
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I have these thoughts and visions. But I also have a son that is 4 years old; and no longer naps. (I have to admit, I miss nap time!) I also have a son that is an only child. I have a son that demands my energy and attention almost 12 hours a day; 7 days a week.
I also haven’t figured out how to do that Mary Poppins snap thing in order to clean my house.
Add the fact that I thought it would be a great idea to start a blog and “work from home”.
I want to treasure this age and spend as much quality time as possible with my son.
But life still holds responsibilites and there is only so much Candy Land I can play.
Balance is needed for both of us.
Finding a balance and creating structure in our day has become a huge priority to me. These are the ways that I have found help our family create a healthy balance between tech-time and old-fashioned play time.
1. Invest in an Amazon Fire Kids Tablet
About 6 months ago, after lots of research, my husband found a possible solution in the Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet.
As someone who was “anti-tablet”, I can honestly say I am more than pleased with this purchase.
I love how the Amazon Fire for Kids has a clock to set how long our son can use it each day. I never have to say, “okay, time is up”. The “man” just shows up and he just tells me, “I was in the middle of ___ and bam, the man showed up”! And that’s it. No crying. No asking for more time. No discussion. It is awesome! And I love it because I get an hour of time where I am uninterrupted.
I love that it has a kid proof case. I love that Amazon will replace it if somehow it still breaks – no questions asked.
I love how I can use the setting to control how he uses the tablet. If I want him to play some learning games before he watches a show – I can program that!
Added bonus: it is 4 times cheaper than an Ipad mini!
2. Create a Picture Schedule
This was an idea given to me by our son’s pre-school teacher. It really helped us have a great summer. Xavier tends to not want to play independently. Creating a picture schedule helped him see the plan for the day and understand that sometimes we play together, other times Mommy has to work or clean, and other times are for eating or going outside.
I literally walked around taking pictures of different things that we would do throughout the day and then taped them to construction paper.
This helped both my pre-schooler – and me – to stay on task!
Quiet time was on the picture schedule, so our son knew exactly when he could play with his Kindle Tablet
3. Get out of the House!
I can not relax in my house. I just see more things to add to the “to do” list. So getting out of the house is a great way for me to get a break and give my son more attention.
Sometimes getting out of the house is strictly for fun. We go on nature hikes, to the playground, to story time or swim lessons. Once a month we go to a mom’s club meeting where I get to talk and pray with other moms, and there are other children and toys that make it fun for my son.
Sometimes we have to run errands. No matter what, it’s great bonding time!
4. Embrace Your Child’s Desire to “Help”
Doing the dishes is really playing with the water in the sink. I’ll take it over watching another show. Watering the plants is a fun chore.
Baking is so much fun for our son – and I love eating what we make! I let him push the vacuum. I let him wipe the baseboards.
I still have not convinced him how much fun it is to match socks – so you have any tips with that one – please help!
5. Let them Watch that Show
Once in awhile, it is perfectly okay if he watches t.v. (I keep telling myself this)!
We, like many people, have Amazon Prime. We invested in the Amazon Fire Stick. So, those times where he wants to watch a show or two, there is always something educational and kid friendly he can watch. Fireman Sam is a huge favorite. Daniel Tiger is another.
My son could identify every letter of the alphabet by the time he was 3 (thank you Super Why!). There is plenty of quality, positive and educational shows that are available.
I definitely recommend the Amazon Fire Stick. So many movies and shows are free with Amazon Prime – having the fire stick helps us get more for our money.
What are some suggestions you have to keeping a healthy balance between tech-time and play time? Please share!