Why less screen is more fun and how to have unplugged childhoods
Screens are more pervasive than ever before, and it is harder and harder to keep away from them. (that parenting app you have downloaded?) No matter how much we depend on tech today, we want to give our kids a normal, less digitalized childhood. An unplugged childhood!
At shumee, we have always striven towards free play that is unplugged in every way. One of our blog posts from earlier still holds true, and here we recap a little more from our learning over these past few years.
Why is digital detox important for kids
Internet Addiction Syndrome is a well-recognized and documented issue that plagues everyone, and the younger you are, the easier it is to be mesmerized by digital screens. Late-night screen usage can affect sleep hormones, and lack of sleep, in turn, can affect the day after at school, at play, and studies. There is also the issue of low self-esteem that social media has been linked to in older children and even adults.
How can you, as a parent, help your child to unplug?
While unplugging is a year-long phenomenon, winters with shorter days and less outdoor time make it a little harder to stay away from screens. Shorter days and longer nights often mean that kids have to troop home much earlier in the day, leaving a lot of time for that monster called boredom. Now that the winter holidays are almost here, does your little munchkin have a case of the winter blues? Are they going crazy cooped up indoors in the cold? Take advantage of the shorter day to snuggle with your children, keep them away from all kinds of screens and try one of these shumee’s favorite things to do.
1 Make a winter snack
Who can resist a warm muffin or a warm roasted corn-on-the-cob or just simple, sweet, and spicy popcorn on a cold winter evening? Corn on the cob, gajak, and rewari, til patti, and warm gaajar halwa. Just mentioning these makes our mouth water. Take advantage of the love for food and make a snack together. Give them tasks in the kitchen, and don’t forget to mention how important they are. If they’re tiny, give them a carrot to play or a song to sing to keep you entertained. If they can handle things, ask them to smash an elaichi, become a food taster or tell you a story as you cook away.
2 Get on board with games
Pull out those board games that had taken a break in the warmer months when you played all hours outdoors. From the simple Ludo and Skittles or exciting build and balance games like Ninjaki and puzzles, play with your little ones and bask in their sunny smiles and warm laughter. Or using building blocks with the family to create castles and new worlds.
3 Snuggle with a book
Be it a blizzard or a cold evening; a good book is a perfect companion to snuggle with in any weather. Ask them to cuddle with one under the blanket or if you live in a warmer part of the country, on a park bench. Encourage them to write their own with the tell-me-a-story cubes from shumee. Do give an apple for them to munch on while they turn the pages.
4 Put up a show
Winter evenings are perfect to put up a quick skit or a puppet show. Give your little ones the responsibility of putting up a show together. This will keep them busy the whole of the evening, or maybe a few days to prep. Post dinner, change into warm PJs, gather all adults in the house, and huddle under a blanket as the kids enact the skit. If you so feel like, join them in performance or ask grandparents to be part of the play. Just don’t forget to share some finger foods or popcorn!
5 Catch up on the family tree
That last aunt at the wedding who pulled your little one’s cheeks; did they know who she was? Get out the photo albums and play up a quiz for your munchkins. How many people do your little ones recognize? Brr winters are a great time to talk about the extended family. After all, with family and friends, the more is always, the merrier, isn’t it?
6 Breathe in some sunshine
Scorching summers keep us indoors during the day, but winters are a great time to plan a picnic in your own garden or some spot nearby. Go out and soak in some Vitamin D. Go on a trek and watch the bees and the butterflies work their magic. Don’t forget to pack in some oranges, sandwiches, nuts, and water bottles.
7 Invent your own new games
Stack up empty plastic jars on and roll an old pair of socks into a ball to scatter the tower’. Or better yet, just get your shumee skittles out and have a great time. Build a fort together out of chairs and blankets. Pitch an indoor tent. Kick a softball with chairs as goalposts.
8 Create a treasure trail
Look in the crook of a rain tree or under a rock. On the wall or in the parking lot. Hide little clues for kids to follow and lead them to a treasure of warm food or their favorite snack. If they’re a bit older, ask them to build a treasure hunt trail for you. That will keep them busy for hours. The great outdoors or just within the walls of your home, the idea to have fun.
9 Craft a snowman without snow
Oh, yes, everyone absolutely must have one for this season. You can make yours with newspapers. Built it, glue it up, stick it together, print it, paint it, and mark it with your own symbols. Little ones enjoy making things, and anything they make is perfect. So what are you waiting for? Look at some easy to do crafts and sit-in under the sun or a warm rug at home and get your master-craftsmen to make a piece of art.
10 Let them teach
Kids are fantastic learners, but they’re even better teachers. Make them a teacher for a day and ask them to teach art, a craft, or a trick to adults. We especially suggest this for grandparents. Let them teach adults how to do tumbles, touch your tongue on your chin or how to draw a cow. You’ll hear giggles fill up your home in no time.
These are just a few examples of unplugging for your children and yourself. You will find that the more you unplug, the easier it becomes, and the more you have of other fun things to do. The children of today will be using screens for almost all they do, from homework to friendships to work. Let us keep them away for as long as we can and help them unplug.
You can also listen to our podcast here. Share your views with us.