3 Ways To Help Cut Down On Screen Time
Activities and Routine Tips to Help Cut Down on Screen Time
Anyone else need to cut down on screen time after the summer months?! I know we do! During the summer, we found ourselves at home having way too much screen time then I would like to admit. I think we can all relate that the slow summer months lend itself to more screen time and that’s ok. But as summer comes to a close, I was looking for ways to cut down on screen time. My 4 year old had developed quite the screen time addiction and it was time to cut it down.
There have been quite a few things we have done to curb our daughter’s screen time habits over the years. We have realized that there are some shows that make her more irritable then others. Some were easier for her to step away from while others caused a much bigger reaction when they’re turned off. I am excited to share some ways we have cut down on screen time and the shows we have found that are less stimulating for her.
Ways We Have Cut Down On Screen Time
1. Morning Basket
Around the time that she turned 2 years old, we found that watching TV first thing in the morning was not helpful for her. It was very difficult to turn the TV off and successfully get her to move onto a different activity away from the television. So, we replaced her morning TV time with a morning basket with picture books and various activities. Inside of our morning basket, I would put picture books that we would read together in the morning, stickers, coloring books, magic picture painting books, and our file folder calendar. It was a great way for us to cuddle up together and get the day started on the right foot.
Things to include in your morning basket:
1. Read Alouds (with well-loved characters)
2. Poetry and Nursery Rhymes
3. Look and Find or Activity books
5. Coloring or Art Activity
6. Mindfulness/Emotional Intelligence Books or Cards
7. Craft Supplies
Morning basket is also a great activity to include into your morning routine if you have siblings so they can all be included.
2. Television Show Choices Menu
As time has gone on and our daughter became more opinionated with the shows she watched. I noticed that some TV shows had a more negative affect on her than others. It was for this reason, that I decided to create a TV Show Choices Menu. This menu had pictures of television shows that she could choose from to watch during her TV time that day. It allows her to feel in control and choose from the menu of show choices but I make sure to place shows onto the menu that are not too overstimulating for her.
When I say overstimulating, I mean I have really started to pay attention to the colors on the screen, how loud the music is, the quick changes between scenes, and how she reacts to it while she is watching and afterwards. Now that I have noticed a few shows that are very addicting for her, I leave those off of the TV show choices menu. This helps to make sure I know she is watching TV that is comfortable for us but also enjoyable for her.
Some of the TV shows that we have found to be less stimulating but still enjoyable for her are:
- Blue on Disney+
- Clifford on PBS Kids
- Elinor Wonders Why on PBS Kids
- Pinkalicious on PBS Kids
- Goldie and Bear on Disney+
- Splash and Bubbles on PBS Kids
- If You Give A Mouse A Cookie on Amazon Prime Kids
To make the TV Show choices menu, I used a template on Canva, saved images from the shows to my computer, and added them in on the site. But, you could also do the same on PowerPoint as well.
3. Screen Time Basket
Another way we have found to cut down on screen time is to create a screen time basket. This basket has been filled with puzzles, books, coloring books, and figurines with some of her favorite television characters. That way she can still enjoy her favorite TV characters while keeping the TV off.
One final bonus tip:
4. Designate A Specific Time in Your Day For Screen Time
Our final tip to help cut down on screen time has to do with your daily routine. I have found that designating a specific time each day for screen time to be highly effective for my daughter. That way, she always knows when to expect it and doesn’t have to constantly ask, “Is it TV time yet?” because she knows when it will be. For us, screen time is later in the afternoon when I start to make dinner. Sometimes it may be a little earlier if I can see she needs to rest but always in the late afternoon. This way I know she has time to relax and I have time to focus on making dinner.
This may not be the ideal time for you. Maybe you need daily screen time on when you make breakfast or around lunch time to break up the day. Find the time that best suits your schedule and use TV time as a tool for you! When you make it work for your schedule, everybody wins.
If you are finding yourself at home with your children and in need of community and support, I have something that may help.
My membership community, The Purposeful Play Community is a community for parents and caregivers of toddlers and preschoolers that will help you create a peaceful routine around play. Bring peace back to your days with your children at home with a community behind you. Sign up for the waitlist here!