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How to Improve Screen Time for Your Children

By Sara Butler

Screentime for Children

People are spending a lot more time at home right now. Parents are juggling working from home and schooling from home. Those without kids may be working from home and also working to prevent boredom. This can result in increased screen time for everyone in your family.

We’ve all heard how unhealthy too much screen time can be. You shouldn’t beat yourself up about how much time you and your family may be spending in front of a screen, but there may be some ways you can make screen time a little bit -- dare we say -- healthier!

Here are some ways you can make your children’s screen time a bit more active for both body and mind, and you might find that adults can benefit as well.

Virtual Field Trips

While everyone has been cautioned about how dangerous too much screen time can be, there are some studies that suggest that certain content can actually help your child to learn. Computer games can be effective teaching tools, as can virtual tours of national landmarks, museums, and even National Parks.

A few resources that you can spin as a “virtual field trip” that you may want to check out include:

Books

Your local library may not be physically available to you right now, but it is available to you online. Many local libraries allow you to stream picture books or borrow books online. A few other resources you can use to help you accomplish this include:

  • Libby - This is a free app for your smartphone that allows you to check out ebooks and listen to audiobooks from libraries across the country. You simply download the Libby app, connect it to your local library account, browse, and then check out the materials you want.
  • Vooks - Vooks is a subscription app with a collection of children’s books that have been made into videos with animation and narration. It’s aimed toward younger children, targeting ages 3 and up. The app is free to download but using the service costs $4.99 per month.
  • Hoopla - Hoopla is a free app that allows the streaming of television shows, audiobooks, movies, eBooks, comics, and music. It’s powered by your local library, so you have access to their collection of digital titles to borrow.
  • Scholastic Learn at Home - Scholastic offers a library of books for kids of all ages that allow you to watch and read the book. Each day they offer a new book with a video and activity included. It’s a great resource to help engage your child, especially if you have a child who may be struggling with reading.

Games

Kids love to play games and if you choose the right games, you can even sneak in a little learning. Some great resources for educational games online include:

  • FunBrain - This platform offers a ton of games for kids up to 13. It’s free and lists games by grade level, skills, and subject.
  • PBS Kids - PBS is well known for its educational programming and they have online games you can take advantage of that incorporate some of your kid’s favorite characters, too. Great for preschoolers up to kids in about the fifth grade, there are a ton of great games to choose from.
  • National Geographic Kids - If you’re looking for quality information with interesting subject matter, then you can’t go wrong with National Geographic Kids. They offer games and activities that allow kids to explore a variety of topics such as the ocean, space, animals, world culture, and science. It’s a great resource for school-aged kids that will entertain and educate.

Exercise

You can use screen time to help inspire physical exercise too. Get your kids moving to a few of these tools:

  • Cosmic Kids - This YouTube channel has yoga videos just for kids. It’s a fun and interesting way to get your child into yoga or to continue their interest.
  • Fitness Blenders - This website offers free fitness videos for kids that even parents can get in on!
  • Just Dance - If you have a dancer in your family, this YouTube channel offers short dance videos that kids can follow along with from the game of the same name.
  • Sworkit Kids - This is an app that aims to help kids get physical. It takes kids of all ages through routines that focus on flexibility, balance, agility, and strength.

We’re going through some unprecedented times right now. Finding ways to keep everyone occupied, learning, and moving is of the utmost importance. Don’t focus so much on the quantity of screen time you and your children may be exposed to, but instead focus on the quality of the content you’re interacting with. That will help us all make it through just a little bit healthier!

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