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6 Screen-Free Ways To Engage Your Child


Summer vacations are all about fun before the next school year begins and life goes back to its usual routine.

Summer vacations are all about fun before the next school year begins and life goes back to its usual routine. This is the time when parents are looking at ways to keep their children engaged and away from screens, which has otherwise become an indispensable part of life. Now that summer breaks are about to end, it is good to still be mindful of ways to minimise screen time from your child’s daily routine.

What is the problem with screens?

We all know and acknowledge that screen time should be limited, as uncontrolled screen time has detrimental effects on a child’s overall development, but do we know why? The effects, according to several experts in the field of psychology, include obesity, issues with sleep schedules, delays in language and social skills development, to name a few.

How can you engage your children without letting screens become the default?

Recently, a survey commissioned by Kantar for Amazon’s Alexa among more than 750 parents, revealed that almost 96% of parents are looking for ways to keep their children meaningfully engaged through fun and learning activities. In fact, the surveyed parents expressed what they would like to see their children do instead, and these included things like improving English speaking skills (50%), learning social skills (45%), performing arts (36%), etc.

Meghna Yadav, Child Psychologist and Head of Training, KLAY Centres for Child Development and Care shares few things that parents should explore for the overall development of their children:

Pick up analytical skills:

Games like quizzes and puzzles offer an array of developmental benefits wherein children can learn new skills while they play. Hence, parents can choose from a range of games like quizzes, puzzles, and simple number games to help kids in improving their numeracy and language acquisition.

Arts & Crafts – a multisensory activity:

It is always advisable to engage them with arts and crafts like painting or clay work which not only makes children happy, but also helps in developing fine motor skills in children, improving hand-eye coordination, accuracy, and learning functional skills which they will apply throughout their lives. Parents could consider giving them a project a week, such as painting a flower pot, or making a doll house with play doh, or making a paper-mache greeting card. The happy news is, arts & crafts provide a wealth of benefits for children both in short and long-term. It offers them an opportunity to learn and grow in a fun and creative environment while staying indoors.

Music and the beautiful mind:

Musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills. It is also a great way to help in a child’s overall social and emotional development. It also demands practice and perseverance on the part of the child – all of which are qualities that will hold them in good stead in the long run. Parents could consider sending their child for singing classes or to learn an instrument, and also work practice time with their children into their schedules – an activity for them to enjoy together.

Hone language and communication skills:

Indian children by default are exposed to at least two languages, it would be good to consolidate this and improve their command over them. Parents can turn to smart speakers and AI-based voice assistants to help children improve their communication skills along with grammar, and proficiency in English and Hindi in a more effective manner.

Activity-led play groups:

Children need other children to feel stimulated and the value of peer-to-peer learning cannot be downplayed. In interacting, playing, and even fighting with other children, they get further socialised and learn how to negotiate and resolve issues and collaborate with one another. Adding a nice twist to this, parents can set up weekly playgroups with one activity as the focus of that week, such as reading together, storytelling sessions, painting together, etc.

Learn a new Skill

New skills can help build a sense of independence, confidence, and self-esteem amongst kids. Parents can start with simple things like engaging them in simple household chores, like watering the plants, or folding the laundry – a great way to set a daily routine and learn simple life skills. At the same time, an effective way of getting children to pick up new skills is by creating an interactive and fun environment at home with voice assistants that have thousands of built-in skills and features.

There is a wide array of activities that one can do with their children this summer, and once the schedule is set, treat it as sacrosanct. Before you know it, the summer will have passed, and it will be time to go back to school again.

This article was originally published in News 18.

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