I’ve got exciting news for you today. After a bit of a hiatus in 2018, I’m thrilled to announce our Real Talk with Real Moms series is back! While I don’t talk about my tiny human around here that much – I find we can always talk about parenthood! And as I focus more and more on taking a very intentional approach to life, I feel like there’s no better time to trade as many tips and ideas as we can.
So over the course of 2019 I, along with a bevy of other powerhouse blogger mamas, will be diving back into topics that we suspect plague all you parents out there. Today we’re talking the ever-controversial screen time, but also play ideas.
We actually tackled the technology topic about a year and a half ago. As we approach my kiddo’s fourth birthday (how is that possible???), I’m pleased to report we remain a screen-free household. Call me crazy, but I remain firmly against screen time for young kids. That means we still do zero TV, no iPad games, no time playing with a phone. And I swear, it’s really not that hard.
Well ok, it’s a little hard. Plane flights aren’t my favorite. We don’t brave extended road trips. I have to do some major parental backflips to keep a pre-schooler engaged while trying to get dinner on the table. Yes, it is a bit harder on me. But I still firmly believe it is so much better for him.
I talked about this previously, but in case you missed it, you should know that studies have proven that technology screws with our brains – but particularly the brains of children. There is article after article after terrifying article about tech’s detrimental effects. I’m sure you’ve read many of them. If not, click on one like this. Even tech executives are severely limiting or straight up eliminating their kids’ screen time.
Of course as my son has aged I’ve allowed the occasional exception to our zero-screen-time rule. A quick animal YouTube video here. Katelyn Ohashi’s perfect 10 floor routine there. Yes, we FaceTime with the grandparents. I’m not a barbarian. And don’t get me wrong. Of course I’m excited for him to experience Mr. Rogers. I can’t wait to have Friday family movie nights. But in due time.
The unintended consequence of limiting my son’s screen time has been the dramatic decrease in my own. Where TV used to be a big part of my world, I now only turn it on to binge the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I recognize my own phone addiction and am doing more to mitigate it (do you check your usage stats?? They can be scary).
Now onto play ideas. I wish I could say I have some magic tricks in my bag, but I’m not the Martha Stewart of playtime. A lot of construction gets played. Lots of trains. Lots of art time. We just started board games. We turn a lot of home maintenance into “projects” and give him the opportunity to use a drill, a hammer or a KitchenAide mixer. We go outside. A lot.
One thing I’ve found that really helps keep things fresh is cycling toys. Put things away for a while. A month at least and then suddenly bring those toys back out and it’s like a whole new thing again.
Never underestimate how much fun you can have with a ball.
And then there’s “What’s on My Butt.” I can’t take credit for this. I heard about it from the podcast The Longest Shortest Time. This for the end of the day, I’ve got 30 minutes left before bedtime and I’m running on fumes time. You literally lay on your stomach, have your kid grab a household item and place it on your butt and you have to guess what it is. Just make sure they have to put it back! Bonus points if you can play with glass of wine in hand.
If you have any favorite activities for the 3-4 year old set, I’d love love love to hear your favorite ideas. For the rest of the mamas’ takes, click the links below!
For the entire Real Talk, Real Moms archive, CLICK HERE. I hope you’re excited as we are it’s back.