This time is unprecedented, suddenly we are on 24/7 to be all things to all people. Parents, educators, and still trying to work. If you are a mompreneur like I am then you are also trying to run your business and stay afloat. It is a lot. My kiddos LOVE their devices. Since we are techie family we had two iPads that we passed down to them when we upgraded. In the past, the iPads were pretty open to using but with school and activities, the actual screen time wasn’t that much.
It is so tempting to have TV or iPads babysit for hours on end. I am here to tell you that I do it! I am here to tell you that it is okay and to not feel guilty if you find yourself doing this. If you don’t agree and want to do things differently no judgment. This is what works for our family and these are resources, apps, and goodies that we are leveraging to make screen time more.
I think when we get a feeling of guilt or that we are not doing enough, keep in mind that not all screens are the same. There are apps like ABC Mouse that are incredible learning tools and do not have the same effects as playing video games all day. There are apps that have kids get up and move, there are stories, and incredible learning videos.
Need apps to help with routines for your kiddos? Check out Routine Apps!
Screen Time Tips
- Not all screens are the same. There are online classrooms (like Outschool), learning apps, videos, interactive stories, and games. Some are just for fun and some are high quality or educational. Some are for some guilty pleasure. Each of these has its place and role. How we interact with screens and what we do on screens is more important than the time spent with them. Common Sense Media Resource: Are some types of screen time better than others.
- Choose Quality Content. Choosing tech that is high-quality media and age-appropriate is key to success.
- Learn New Skills. Get creative and have kids shoot photos or videos. I have a green screen and I showed my almost 4-year old how it works and he did a skit in outer space. For preschoolers, have them find different shapes or colors by taking photos and then identify or tell a story.
- Get Moving. There are lots of great opportunities right now to help kids get moving with tech. Play a game that recognizes them on camera. Record a dance party or join a GoNoodle Zumba Kids class.
- Bond and Connect with Tech. This has been a game-changer for my almost 4-year old during this challenging time. He can call his grandparents and relatives and still feel connected. We even connected in real-time with some of his teachers and friends. Relationships are so crucial for kids’ healthy development and it is rough for them to only be around the same 3 people all the time.
- Balance is Still Important. There may be more screen time but also find some time to move (with or without screens), outside time, play, and more.
- Don’t Feel Guilty. Screens are a part of our society and in this massive culture shock if they can help don’t feel guilty. There is enough stress to deal with, counting screen minutes should not add to this stress and should be very low on the list of concerns.
Innovative Screen Time
GoNoodle is a great network of shows and games that will get kiddos off the couch and moving. I am a previous Zumba instructor and I love that they have some Zumba Kids videos. It is a really fun app and it seems completely free.
OutSchool is super innovative. They offer small group classes via Zoom for all age levels. My big boy took a circle time class via OutSchool and we are also signed up for a Lego challenge. The teachers are great at working in the environment and working with the Zoom software to allow the kids to participate and mute them when needed. It was a great activity for him even when he is not one to be able to sit down for long. The classes range from one time to as long as a six-week class.
Sign up with this link and you can get $20 off your first class! This was really a neat experience for them to see others teach and have a class setting like they are used to and such fun topics ranging from LEGOS to more tech to Circle Time for littles.
Interactive Screen Time
ABC Mouse is one of my favorite new apps. They have activities for all kids ages 2 – 8. My 21-month old loves ABC Mouse and does some great activities. The almost 4-year old plays a lot on it and is learning how to read and spell. It is absolutely amazing. Math and puzzles and on top of it all it is super fun and he stays engaged.
FreeTime Unlimited is a great combination of educational screen time and some fun screen time. It is a huge collection from Amazon and works really well in the Amazon collection of devices. It is loaded on Kids Fire Tablets and can also be installed on iOS and Android devices. It can also be activated on Alexa devices for a fun way to listen to stories or get help with homework. Try out Echo Glow and have a unique way to show kiddos when it is time to get up or switch to a new activity.
There are great parental controls and you can see how your kids are using the tablet. From stories to videos to games, it’s a great way to get kids started with a tablet. Until April 15th you can get a 3-month family plan for less than a dollar.
Osmo play is super interactive because the game and learning go beyond the iPad. With a camera and a stand, the pieces included create a story both in the app and in the physical world. It is truly another dimension added to screen time play.
- Common Sense Media – Huge resource when it comes to finding apps or media for kids.
- Green Desk Virtual Assistance Learning Resources – Large AirTable list of educational resources for kids and adults.
- Wide Open School – Great resource divided into different topics for all age levels.
Now it is your turn what are your favorite apps for your kiddos during this time?!