As the days get shorter and kids start spending more time inside, it’s possible that they’ll gravitate to the computer, TV, cell phone or handheld as a remedy to “being bored”. Of course I tell my kids that if they ever claim “I’m bored” then they can go clean the bathroom but I get busy (lazy) and am trying to incorporate some built in screen solutions to avoid future arguments and debates.
GetNoodles is free educational software which interrupts children’s web surfing, texting or gaming with pop-up educational, multiple choice questions. Parents choose the frequency of the pop-ups and the contents of the questions based on each child’s grade level and subjects selected. There’s a broad range of subjects for every age including some ACT prep for older children.
Instead of TV is a wonderful site offering a plethora of options for unplugged family activities and I also picked up the book, Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun. I let my kids pull out 10 ideas each that we have as a go to when they feel that there is “nothing to do” besides sitting in front of a screen. But my absolute new favorite pick up from my beloved indie bookstore, Pudd’nHead Books, is It’s A Book by Lane Smith – a hilarious must read for every parent who has a digital kid or is a digital kid themselves.
As usual one of my favorite sites About.com has a great article about setting limits on screen time but before you make any final decisions, I’d advocate for including the children as part of the conversation. Share with them the reasons why and for me, the hardest part is being a good role model and limiting my own screen time. If you have some screen time suggestions or a favorite educational site, let me know!