The first few years of parenting can be described in one word.
The sleepless nights, trying to be sane during the day, and the never-ending housework sums it all up.
No wonder we are addicted to coffee (and some of us limit it because we were told it could reduce milk supply, oh dear)
Trust me: I’ve been there.
It is hard when you have been awake all night and trying to get things done during the day. They say rest when the child is napping, but the problem is who will do the other housework.
Sometimes, Mom needs a break!
During those hours, we turn to screen time for our little ones, right?
Don’t feel guilty or ashamed.
I will show you how to limit your toddlers’ screen time and find inner peace in those minutes.
Whenever we think of screen time, we tend to believe it is about getting rid of the screen, but then what?
My toddler is still full of energy, bored, and needs entertainment. I am stressed, tired, and need some rest.
Instead of focusing on no screen time or limited screen time, let’s find the right balance for our kids.
Don’t forget : Children’sonline safety book for Toddlers
Here are five ways you can balance your toddler’s screen time:
1. Structure screen time
Our toddlers need a structure in their day. They need time to sleep, play, eat, and spend outdoors. The same can be said with screen time.
You can choose what time of the day would best fit into their schedule. For instance, the evening, after outdoor play and when I prepare dinner, is the best time for me to switch on some nice nursery rhyme on TV for my little one.
I will confess this is the time of the day I can detach myself for a moment and enjoy being me, as my daughter is being entertained by “Wheel on the bus” that she constantlyinsistst on listening to.
2. Find age-appropriate content
It would be nice to leave your little one alone in front of the screen. However, we have all read the horrors of screen time, like freaky things popping up during a YouTube show.
To be able to do this, you need to find age-appropriate content. Instead of relying on YouTube, use YouTube for kids ( a platform made especially for children).
I suggest not using YouTube and turning to safer options like Cbeebies, where you are sure there can’t be any inappropriate content slipping through.
Do check out the list below for more options.
3. Experience digital together
Eventually, your toddler will grow up, and you might turn towards the iPad or the internet. Plenty of educational apps are out there to keep the little one busy.
But to explore the app’s educational stuff, you will need to experience it with your child. It can never be educational unless you genuinely know the app’s content.
Browsing together also allows you to discuss safe internet use from a young age. It helps in building trust and relationships with your child.
Any app can be labeled as educational, so do not just buy it because of what it says.
Please read the reviews beforehand, watch YouTube shows about the app, and, most importantly, try it out yourself before giving it to your toddler.
4. Stop worrying about screen time too much
Digital media and devices can be a place for creativity and problem-solving. Instead of focusing on the amount of screen time, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my toddler sleeping enough?
- Is my toddler physically healthy?
- Is my toddler having plenty of face-to-face interaction and connecting well with family and friends?
- Is my toddler spending time playing outdoors?
- Is my toddler having fun and learning new things using digital media?
If you answer YES to all of the above, you are doing fine, Mama.
You can even check these11 free apps to get your kids outdoors this summer
Join our E-parenting Community to meet other parents and discuss all about parenting with a screen.
How to limit toddler’s screen time :
Now, if you think your child is getting too much screen time, try the below alternatives:
1. Encourage Independent Play
One of the best ways to distract toddlers is through independent play. Try the tips below :
- Combine a few toys, for instance, magnets or blocks, and get them to play
- Start with playing together with your child and ask them questions
- After a while, tell them, “I’m going to cook now. I will continue playing once I am done cooking”.
- Start with 10 minutes of independent play, then increase it over time.
The best thing about independent play is that your child will be satisfied with the time spent alone. They get to be more creative and do things they enjoy.
Oh yes, don’t forget the cute self-expression they do when they are playing alone. I love the funny noises they make.
1) Make slime at home: You can make Slime at Home
2. Try other media.
I find my toddler gets bored of screen time after a while. So the next thing I do is go back to books.
I also have those toys with sounds and lights but no screen. She loves to press the buttons and let the lights and music come up.
You can even try those types of activities first before turning to screen time.
Sometimes, I play nursery rhymes on the speaker, and my toddler dances to it until she gets bored or tired.
And if I still need to entertain her, I take out the pots and pans and let her make her musical sounds.
Finally, don’t forget to have plenty of picture books. They tend to keep my toddler occupied for a long time.
Now your turn
Ready to create the right balance for your kids? Remember the following tricks :
- Structure screen time
- Find age-appropriate content
- Experience digital together
- Finally, ensure your child gets plenty of rest, face-to-face interaction, and outdoor play.
If you need to pause screen time, then do the following:
- Encourage independent play
- Plan for alternatives to screen time. For instance, books, toys, and other fun sensory activities for your toddler.
Now share with us what has been your biggest struggle with screen time. Is there any other way you set limits? Share your thoughts.
Finally, don’t forget to click below:
Children’s online safety book- teach them about internet safety from a young age. For 3 -10 years old
Here are other tips to keep children safe in the digital age :
Cyber Flashing: The new online safety threat on your kid’s iPhone
Ten things you can do right now to keep your children safe: Easy and clever online safety tips
Three dangerous places for children to be online : 3 places kids should have limited internet access
Join the reparenting Community On Facebook
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