“So, what do the kids do while you cook dinner?”
This is a legit question I’ve been asked when other parents find out we don’t have much screen time. And the truth is: I don’t really know! They are off PLAYING somewhere (occasionally fighting, let’s be honest) and often my 2 year old is alongside me.
But it wasn’t always this way; there was a time when the TV was on every single day during dinner prep time. And if that’s your house and you’re OK with that, and your preschoolers are sticking to the recommended screen guidelines (<1hr day for under 5’s, none for under 2’s), then that’s cool.
I know that’s the case in many, MANY households. And that’s totally understandable. Please don’t feel guilty if this is the case for you – that’s a choice you’ve made that works for your family.
But if you ARE wanting to make a change, then I encourage you to do so. The benefits of less screen time & more play time are HUGE! Your kids will be able to settle into play much more easily.
Here are 3 tips to get those preschoolers of yours’ off screens and into PLAY while you’re cooking dinner:
- Have a family meeting and set the expectation that things are going to change. Make it clear that the norm is going to change. Ask the kids what they would like to do instead of watching TV. Even though they’re only young you may be surprised at how well this works. Giving them some autonomy and ownership in the situation will help them be more engaged in play.
- Try to be a little organised with your family transitions. By this I mean the time that you walk in the door after work/daycare pickup. I know that everyone is tired after the end of a long day and that’s why the TV goes on. But if you’re organised with having a ‘play invitation’ in mind (or even set up already) then it helps the kids transition into play much more smoothly.
- Let them sort out their own arguments. In our house I try to follow the “17 second rule”. It’s magic. Instead of rushing in and intervening in their arguments, I start counting and see whether they can sort it themselves. Usually they do! The exception to this is is someone is hurting someone else – and you can usually tell by the tone of cries (Mums, you know what I mean, right?).
If you want help more help to break that dinner prep TV habit, this is the kind of thing I guide you through in the e-course No More Square Eyes.