Screen free activities for families: Part 1 – DISCOVER
This post is the first of five parts on our “Engage Without Gadgets” Challenge!
The whole idea of this challenge is to engage your children through screen-free activities for families.
I have to admit that screen time is not uncommon in my household.
We were so lax with allowing my oldest son with having screen time that he showed signs of blurry vision at the age of 4!
Pin me to your parenting boards!
That was certainly a wake-up call for me!
So we implemented new house rules and one year on, my son’s vision has improved!
I agree that there are certainly benefits in using electronic gadgets for entertainment and education purposes.
But the fact is, it is so easy to fish out our mobile phone to keep our kids entertained that we stop thinking about other ways to engage them.
What we really want is to engage our children’s hearts and minds, not just their eyes!
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The first step of our “Engage Without Gadgets” Challenge is to DISCOVER.
But first, let us define the word ENGAGE
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of ENGAGE is
“to interest someone in something and keep them thinking about it”
“to become involved, or have contact, with someone or something”
Therefore, the whole idea of engaging our children is not only to get them interested in an activity but also for us parents to have contact with them and be involved in the activity together.
That is how we engage our children’s hearts and minds.
Screen Free Activites For Families: Step 1 – DISCOVER
Discover what exactly?
To discover what your child likes, what your child dislikes, and what YOU, as the parent, want your child to do more of and why.
Here is the printable Day 1: DISCOVER worksheet for you to complete. One for each child, please.
Do note that as much as this Challenge is related to our parenting methods, the main focus here is engaging our children through screen-free activities for the whole family.
Which means for the third row in the worksheet where you fill in what you want your child to do more of, it should not be something like “clean his room”, “wash her dishes” or “less talk back”.
Well, if you can effectively engage your child by washing dishes together, then good for you!
But I’m guessing washing dishes is way less fun for them, and hence, less engaging.
The activity needs to gain their interest, remember?
Pin me to your kids’ activities boards!
Also, remember that we are not focusing on disciplining and having a top-down parenting approach parenting.
We are focusing on engaging our children’s interests and spending quality time interacting with them through certain activities that will encourage parent-child bonding.
So your worksheet could look something like:
What my child likes to do:
– watch YouTube videos
– play games on iPhone
What my child doesn’t like to do:
– read books
What I want my child to do more of:
– read more (why: to improve on his language)
– talk to me more (why: to know how his day in school is so I can understand him better)
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I know it is easy to think all this through in our heads. But nothing beats writing it down and having a visual image in front of you.
If you notice that a lot of activities listed in the first row involve the use of electronic gadgets, then I sure hope this Engage Without Gadget Challenge will help you change that and achieve your goals in the third row!
Having these written down will also provide you with a reference so that you can track how engagement with your child has improved when you look back 3 to 6 months down the road.
Therefore, please take 15 to 30 minutes to complete the DISCOVER worksheet. Please write down as many points as you can think of!
Be sure to read on for Part 2 of Engage Without Gadgets Challenge. More awesome freebies await!