The street vendor stood quietly at a prominent corner of the road waiting for customers when suddenly he heard a mother scream. At first he thought that the woman was screaming at him and came up with a befitting reply, but the next scene that unfolded made him take back his words! For the mother was shouting at her teenage son to look at the road while walking rather than be lost in the electronic gadget that he was holding.
When electronic gadgets become an emotional crutch to escape boredom or sadness or disrupts routine life (like studies or mealtime), these are the signs that the child’s screen usage is immoderate, say pediatric media experts at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
When monitored and used for enhancing their knowledge, technology can be considered useful, but excessive screen use can take a toll on their physical and mental well-being. Being a parent automatically gives you the right to have the final word! So put your foot down and set limits on screen time.
Here are 10 ways you can engage kids in a healthy way and see long-term benefits:
When the child is the hero of their own storybook, they are more engaged and learn better. Personalisation is a great way to raise confident, imaginative and book loving kids. A current trending concept, not only can you personalize the name of the protagonist, you can also choose the storyline and how they look like.
Cooking together is a great way to spending some quality time. Irrespective of the child’s age, this simple activity teaches them life lessons and skills.
When the family cooks or bakes together, it shows that this chore is not gender specific. It is a life skill that every human being needs to know in order to survive.
Board games, science experiments and more
There are plenty of board games that you can choose from depending on your child’s age. They are a lot of fun. Do some simple science experiments together using kits readily available in the market. If you feel the need for a mystery, then solve puzzles together.
Exercise those vocal chords
Have a jam session and sing your favorites together. What’s more? Put on your tap dance shoes and dance away together. A great way to relax, laugh, and exercise. Even if you have two left feet, it doesn’t matter. Who’s watching?
Arts and Crafts
Put on your creative hats and sketch together. Make recycled home decor crafts. Everyone has cereal boxes or plastic bottles lying around at home. You could make a dinosaur or a robot out of the cereal box. You can grow plants in the plastic bottles. This encourages children to make the best out of waste.
Picnic in the backyard
Cannot go outside for a picnic? Now is the time to appreciate that backyard that you built and dreamed of spending time with your loved ones in. Lay out a mat or make a tent. Put on some lights, make a few sandwiches and finger food, get your favourite playlist and let the party begin!
As awareness around climate change increases, more and more people are turning their backyards or for that matter even a small space inside their house into a green corner. Gardening is also a stress busting activity. Kids of all ages learn to nurture a living thing and be responsible.
Decorate a box and put your memories - photos, trinkets given by friends, newspaper clippings, your trophies or medals, etc. in it. Write a few predictions about how life will be in the next 10 years, put the paper in the box and store it away in a safe place to open in future.
Go on a drive
A simple yet a fun thing to do. If you can, drive down to the countryside and just soak it all in. There is something magical about looking at the greenery rather than all the concrete we now see everywhere. A great way to remember your childhood and regale in the stories. This will help your children know how you spent your childhood and be inspired.
Try Michelangelo drawing under a desk
Glue a piece of paper under the desk and ask your child to draw a picture upside down. A great history lesson for older kids too.
Reduced screen time and letting the child be idle for sometime results in enhanced creativity. Simple activities such as imaginary games or tinkering with toys are equally important for learning and nurturing creativity. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, when there is enough active play, there is a significant improvement in their cognitive abilities, academic performance and attitude.