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Screen Time Alternatives

Fun and creative ways to entertain the family that don't require a charger.

Screen Time Alternatives

I’m not going to sugar coat it, my kids watch TV. They don’t watch a lot of it, but I’d say they average two 20 minute shows a day. We are big fans of PBS and shows that teach a lesson or have wholesome messages, but I would be lying if I said they hadn’t dabbled in the YouTube kids app complete with those egg videos (consider yourself lucky if you have no idea what I am talking about.)

But I think we can all agree that these screen times are in no way better than getting our kids outside (when weather is appropriate) or creative play. So, here are some fun ideas and alternatives to screen time.

When the sun is out the screen is away! Here are some outdoor activities:

Scavenger Hunt. This doesn’t have to be hard! Don’t overthink it. Grab some markers (have your older children help write) and make a list of items to find in the yard or on a walk. Think simple things for the younger kids, rock, flower, etc...or make it harder for the older ones...Red Cardinal, man on a bike, etc…

Hide and seek. There is a reason this is such a classic game! You can play it inside, outside and our favorite variation is to grab a bunch of balls and hide them and then go find them around the yard. You can do that with any item.

Plant a garden. My kids love helping me garden. You can get some smaller pots, seeds, soil and let them go to town (you might have to re-plant after) but it will keep them busy and engaged while you get some of your own gardening done! They love getting dirty, maybe making some mud puddles and then watching their plants grow. If you want to make some garden markers for your garden you can paint some popsicle sticks/paint stirrers and have the kids help decorate.

Go for a walk. Get the kids on bikes, in strollers or just grab a hand and take a walk (even in the rain and snow!) Sometimes just getting some fresh air and not having any destination is the best way to clear everyone's mind. We’ve even been known to bring a pull along toy or pretend baby in a stroller if that helps get the kids excited.

When the weather prevents us from getting outside:

Get crafty. We are big into crafting in our house. We keep a box of craft supplies on hand at all times. It’s not fancy, just a big box of craft paper, markers, paints and tons of random items like pipe cleaners and feathers. The kids get so excited to sit at the table and just glue and draw/paint. Even my youngest (who is now 1) gets into the drawing. She sits in her highchair and draws while the big kids sit at the table and get their hands dirty.

Bake! My son and I got into the habit of baking on Friday mornings when he didn’t have school and our baby took her morning nap. Get creative but don’t do anything that takes too long. We are big fans of getting a really awesome box mix and adding things to it. Think brownie mix + chocolate chips or muffin mix with fresh blueberries, etc...You can do it all together. Kids are obsessed with cracking eggs and washing dishes. You will be surprised at how long this occupies them. Plus, they get a sweet treat when all's said and done!

Have a dance party. Let the kids get dressed up (think princesses, superheros or even just silly outfits) and put on some fun dance music and just dance! The sillier the better! We often save dance parties for after dinner while I am cleaning up. The kids get to jump around and get any leftover bursts of energy out of their system before bedtime routine starts.

Build something. I think whether your kids are younger or a little older, everyone gets into building something. There are so many awesome brands that make building blocks so much fun. Our kids are obsessed with the magnetic ones that allow them to build huge towers. Or think outside the box and let the kids build a fort in the living room! Maybe give them a couple of your bigger bed sheets and let them go crazy.

If and when you do decide screen time is appropriate, below are some ideas for keeping it in check!

  • Think about making it a family “thing” by doing movie nights/times when the entire family sits together and watches (when kids are older and bedtime isn’t so strict).
  • Pick designated times or days when it’s allowed. I try to allocate certain times of the day when I know I will need a few minutes to myself to get something done (sometimes during meal prep/cleanup in the evening).
  • Some families opt to have weekdays be screen free and then weekends be more open.

Whatever you choose for your family, don’t stress about what everyone else does. Each family and child is different and balance is always key. Keep on keepin’ on!

Photography by Belle Savransky.

Create a school-ready capsule wardrobe for your kids

Dress for success whether virtual learning or in the classroom!

Tina Meeks

Going "back to school" this year may be less of a literal statement than in years past—but there is just as much reason for your kids to celebrate moving on to new grades. Just like in every new school year, a big part of the fun is refreshing your kids' wardrobe with clothes that allow them to express themselves.

Even if finding back to school clothes this year doesn't include a trip to the mall, you can still make an event of it by shopping H&M's kids collection from your computer. Pull up another chair for your shopping buddy and get the cart started with these fave capsule wardrobe options we've already scouted.

Here are our favorite picks:

A t-shirt made for play

H&M t-shirt

Call them essentials, not basics. A graphic t-shirt aces the test when it comes to being perfect for school. And because your little student will probably want to wear something that expresses their personal style as often as possible, it's great to know the shirts can stand up to school time, playtime, downtime and everything in between!

$4.99

Dressed-up casual shorts for total comfort

H&M boy shorts

Whether pulling up a chair for a virtual meeting with the class or heading back to the school for in-person learning, some comfortable, yet stylish, shorts will help your kid focus on the real tasks at hand: learning—and having fun while doing it!

$19.99

Layers for when seasons change

H&M sweatshirt

When it comes to feeling comfortable at school, layers are the MVPs. Whether the AC is blasting or the day started off cool and is warming up quickly, having a unique sweatshirt to shed or add will help your kid look cool while staying warm.

$9.99

A bit of flair with distressed denim

H&M distressed jeans

A school staple for generations, denim is both classic and continually fashionable with updates like distressing and new wash colors. If you're shopping online for jeans this year, take note of H&M's generous return policy—your kids can try on the orders at home and return anything that doesn't fit without a trip to the store.

$24.99

A fashion statement piece

H&M girls skirt

What's better than expressing yourself through a stylish outfit when school is back in session? Still feeling perfectly comfortable and ready to tackle anything the day holds while looking so good. With so many fashion-forward looks available at budget-friendly prices, H&M's children's collection means every kid can find an outfit that speaks to them.

$14.99

Some comfy kicks

H&M boys shoes

A sure way to put a little pep in your child's step this year, cool and cozy shoes are a staple on all back-to-school shopping lists for good reason. (Plus, it's fun to compare them to last year's shoes to see how much your kid has grown!)

$19.99

Anything-but-basic blouses

H&M girls blouse

Whether in the classroom or showing up for a video call with the class, a styling blouse or button-down shirt is a great way for your student to comfortably dress up the day. Better yet? Style doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort with so many made-to-move tops designed just for kids.

$14.99

A shirt ready to go whatever the day holds

H&M boys shirt

With "going to school" meaning anything from showing up in the classroom to doing a virtual session, it's important to have clothes that are perfect for anything the day holds. A classic, cotton shirt with a fashion-forward design is a great way to keep your student feeling ready to start the year with an A+ attitude.

$9.99

This article was sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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