Would you say your child is creative? Perhaps they bring home the creations they’ve made in nursery or maybe they’ve been working on something in school.
But are they creative at home? If your child is regularly looking at their tablet or playing on their computer game, you might feel like you need to introduce ways to reduce screen time and encourage them to enjoy imaginative play.
However, this year has been unlike any other. We have had to adapt to educating our children at home, so they’re more likely than ever before to have used screens for both schoolwork and for unwinding.
A 2019 survey by CensusWide revealed that children were spending around 23 hours a week looking at screens. So, is this a bad thing? Can children be creative when using a tablet? And what alternative activities you could introduce?
The good things about screen time
It can be easy to be alarmed by how long your little one is spending on their iPad. But technology does have its plus points.
For instance, smartphones and devices help children keep in touch with friends and family, making them a useful tool during lockdown. Also, this tech can be used as both an educational and a personal health tool, thanks to fun, child-centric apps that make little ones more aware of exercise, learning, and healthy living.
The bad things about screen time
There are concerns about young people spending too much time looking at screens. One concern is that it can affect development. A child might hear a word or phrase when watching a YouTube programme, for example, but as the screen can’t give feedback to confirm that they’ve picked up the word correctly, they might learn the incorrect pronunciation.
Similarly, screens can impact on their social skills. By not communicating with anyone for hours at a time, they can find that they lose the ability to interact with other children.
Another major con that comes with using screens is that they can limit creativity. Children aren’t using their imagination or developing their motor skills if they set aside the blocks and toys to stare at a device. If it’s your child’s creativity that you’re trying to focus on, it might be time to reassess how long they spend behind a screen.
What’s the alternative?
If you believe it’s time to get your little one away from the screen and want to get them thinking creatively again, there are some ways to do it. Here are some ideas:
- Remove games and TV apps – if you just keep the educational apps on the tablet, your child is more likely to associate it with schoolwork
- Limit screen time – Set a certain amount of time they can be on their device for.
- Encourage creative playtime – set out craft kits, toys, playdough, building blocks, and other creative ideas for them to work with. Set them tasks to draw something or get involved in making crafty treats. As the parent, you might need to be ready with tools to help them finish building the rocket or piece of jewellery – the more advanced the project, the more you might need.
By setting aside arts and crafts time with your little ones, you can give them a chance to use their imagination.
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