This post was written by Eriel Datuin, third year medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
If you are anything like me, you have probably been spending a lot of time on the internet over these past few weeks—reading up on the latest news, browsing social media, or watching movies and funny videos.
After all, isn’t that video of the sneezing panda hilarious?
And what about all those new Netflix series?
Anyways, where was I?
Today while I was browsing through Instagram, I noticed a post of a family in their living room. Two children were playing video games on the television, one older kid was using their phone, and another was watching a movie on their laptop. There was a comment below that said #quaran-screen—a clever play on words if you ask me.
Television, computer, and phone screens give us an easy way to pass time and are great distractors—especially for kids. They can also be very beneficial, allowing us to stay connected with family and friends, express creativity, and learn through research. In fact, many experts have said that it is not the amount of screen time that is important, but how the screen time is used.
That being said, many children will be at home for the foreseeable future. It is important to make sure that kids continue to read, think, and grow during the self-quarantine. In order to do that, they should be engaged in other things besides just those shiny screens.
So what other activities can children do during this time?
(You know, for when you’re trying to get some work done or when it’s your turn to watch television).
Crack open a good book!
Whether you’re into mystery, romance, or horror, there’s definitely a book out there for everyone! Reading exercises the brain and enhances concentration. It has also been found that reading for fun helps improve performance in school. Aside from that, books are also a great form of entertainment! Parents can read aloud to younger children too!
Want to know why reading is so important? Read more here!
Work on a puzzle!
Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to pass time and everyone can get involved. They are also useful in helping kids to improve memory and concentration, as well as develop problem-solving skills. From puzzles ranging from animals, famous places, or your favorite Disney characters, there’s going to be something for everyone!
Benefits of doing puzzles with your kids: Read more here!
Bust out the Art Supplies!
Painting? Drawing? Coloring? Sculpting with clay or Play-Doh? All of these are options with the right supplies. Like reading or doing puzzles, art also requires focus and concentration. However, it also lets children express their creativity and make something of their own! Who knows, it might be the next painting to go on the fridge!
Read more about why arts are good for kids here!
Make a yummy treat!
Need help making dinner or lunch? Maybe there’s a new cookie or brownie recipe that the family has been wanting to try? As long as your kiddos aren’t feeling sick, you can ask them to help you out in the kitchen! Not only is cooking an important life skill, but it is also lots of fun! Kids can also enhance their reading and math skills too, through simple tasks like following recipes and measuring ingredients! At the end of it, you’ll have a delicious treat to enjoy with the whole family!
Read more about why cooking with kids is good for them here!
Most importantly, enjoy your time together!
Most of the time, parents and children don’t get to spend this much time together. Everyone is busy with work, school, chores, and extracurricular activities. While the situation at hand isn’t ideal, we can make the best of it by being together. Try to get a break from the screens and try something new that everyone can enjoy!
But also remember, you will be home with your children for quite some time—one Netflix movie day won’t hurt anybody. Maybe you want to have a Disney movie marathon, and that’s fine too.