Screen-free entertainment - how to keep kids engaged while working from home
For many parents watching their children permanently stuck on screens gaming, it is utter exasperation. You are probably worried about their mental and physical health not to mention the isolation and the lazy, inactive lifestyle they have. Here are some pointers to get your children away from screens and some suggestions as to how you can better occupy and entertain them.
- Don’t expect to win the war against gaming in an instance. Gaming is highly addictive so you are going to have to be quite Machiavellian to beat this one
- Begin by trying to reduce time spent on games rather than hoping to squash it altogether
- Set up different activities to entertain your children – it’s about offering a viable and attractive alternative. Try and make these practical tasks such as drawing and painting interactive with other family members but without the involvement of screens. You might not receive a very positive response initially but don’t be defeated by this, persist
- Choose at least one activity or excursion which is based outside
- Because you are working from home, you are better placed to keep an eye on what’s going on. Take a leaf out of your own book and make sure you are not setting a bad example by spending too much time yourself on gadgets and devices. This may be part of your home office so quite genuine but the implication is still there that you are trying to interfere with a medium that you yourself use all the time
- Ensure you look after your work life balance and take exercise and engage in different activities like music and reading which you can share with your children, lead by example. Colouring books are a great way to share a family activity with choice for all ages. Evidence shows that colouring can reduce stress, anxiety and depression and Derwent colouring books offer some truly captivating templates ready to colour in and create some stunning artwork
- Set up some good fun interactive games and challenges which will vary depending on whether your children are primary school-aged or secondary school-aged. These can be educational and instructional too
- Pinch some of the stationery from your home office – Nobo whiteboards are perfect for drawing and their size makes them fun and interactive with other children and family members
- Nobo easels are portable and can be used outside for creative activities or as home schooling equipment for remote learning
- Engage children with colourful and vibrant stationery. Encourage them in project work or keeping a diary with beautiful Leitz presentation and display books, tactile with multi-coloured polypropylene index tabs, these are too irresistible. Children can re-engage with the joy of creating something tangible rather than living in a virtual world.
You won’t remove children from gaming devices as if you were waving a wand, sadly. The way to win the war against gaming is to practice different household activities so gradually children begin to understand that there are better ways to have fun and interact with their family. To do this can seem like an uphill challenge.
Excessive gaming can interfere with homework, social interaction with family and other children and be damaging for mental wellbeing and physical health. If you are working from home, it can be easy to get really wound up by a child or teenager who is simply glued to their gadget. But with time and perseverance, it is possible to shift their focus onto better hobbies and pursuits. Seek support and advice from other parents who can share with you the techniques that worked for them.