Parenting Vivian | 26 Oct 2010 05:26 am

How Do I Get My Kids Away From TV and Video Games?

The answer is a simple and age-old one and one you may not accept at first. The answer is crafts! Kids of all ages are programmed to like crafts, they just may not realize it, and so you need to prove it to them – subtly.

These days kids are picking up TV and video games at earlier ages and spending more and more time with them. Don’t get me wrong – I am not one of those people that believe TV and video games are evil. I don’t call the television an “idiot box” like my mom did growing up. Our daughter loves to watch Sesame Street, The Little Einsteins and is even starting to play some basic video games and we do encourage all of these. She is 20 months old and can already count to ten, knows most of her alphabet and has pretty good motor skills. We attribute a lot of this to some of the educational kids shows she watches. But the problem starts when the TV and video games are used as babysitting instead of educational activities.

So why crafts? Crafts give your child great one-on-one time with you as a parent which every kid craves even if they don’t realize it. The time you spend doing crafts with your child go a long way towards building a loving and open relationship. It’s a great time to talk about things with your child and foster sound communication channels and family relationships.

Crafting also helps a child learn and grow. When a child does a craft, they gain confidence in themselves for their accomplishment. They develop their creativity and problem solving skills by making decisions about color, size, accessories, etc. when doing their craft. They also gain a great sense of pride. All children want to win their parents approval and creating a craft and seeing how pleased mommy or daddy is with it is a great feeling for them.

Your child is not going to get many of the benefits I mentioned above from watching TV and playing video games.

So why aren’t we all doing crafts regularly with our kids? Obviously, it takes time for parents. So the first step is to carve off some time to do crafts with your kids. Don’t worry about the ideas, that’s the easy part – there are tons of great websites out there with easy and fun craft ideas for kids. I’ll list some for you at the end of this article.

Why would your kids want to do crafts instead of TV or video games?

Chances are, they won’t… at first. So don’t try to substitute completely, just set up some time to do some crafts and get a couple ideas and the supplies to do them ahead of time. Make sure to have a couple just in case your first idea isn’t a winner. Then just do it and I guarantee you will have fun and so will your child. After you do this a couple times, I bet your child will start asking you when they get to do the next craft.

Remember, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing wrong with TV and video games especially if they are educational. It’s just that your child is missing out on a lot of opportunity to develop in other areas if that’s all they are doing. So start by making some time yourself and check out some sites for ideas to get started. It’s not hard and any parent can do it (yes, even you dads reading this!).

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