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It seems like it’s next to impossible to be screen free in today’s society. I didn’t realize how addicted to my phone I was until I had my daughter. At one point I found myself becoming frustrated if I couldn’t look at my phone. Yes, I got frustrated with a baby because I COULDN’T LOOK AT MY PHONE!! That’s when I knew something had to change, and that’s when I decided that I wanted to at-least try to limit my daughters exposure to screens. I didn’t want her to become dependent on TV or a device in order to entertain herself.
How we go screen free
Our current routine involves keeping the TV off during the day. I tend to leave my phone in another room when my daughter is awake and playing. I catch up on messages and social media during nap times. You can look at some of the reasons to avoid TV before 18 months here.
This post isn’t saying that you’re wrong for allowing your kids to use screen time. I understand mama needs a break sometimes! This is just a list of activities that we do to minimize screen time in our house.
8 FREE Screen Free Activities for Toddlers
- Help out with Household Chores
- Prepare Lunch or, Dinner With You
- Window Watching
- Dance and Listen to Music
- Go to the Park
- Go for a Walk
- Library Story Time
- Read Some Books
Helping out with Cleaning
You may or may not know it, but Toddlers love to feel included! They love to know that they are helping you in some sort of way. This is where allowing them to help you with chores comes in handy! They can help unload the dryer, or use the Swiffer to dust the floor. At around 15 months my daughter was able to help me dust. She LOVED IT! They can also clean up behind themselves. While cleaning may not be fun for you toddlers love It!
Prepare Lunch or Dinner
Once again toddlers love to help! Watching and helping you prepare food makes them feel included. I don’t know about you, but I have a picky eater! The only way I can really get her to eat is if she can see what’s going into the food. I will get out all of the ingredients, and we will talk about what we have. This helps build vocabulary as well! She’s old enough now she can try to stir, so I let her attempt. Is there a mess to clean up afterwards? Well, yes, but that’s ok! I will also put spices in my hand and let her sprinkle some on the food. She loves putting breadcrumbs on certain dishes!
If your toddler is like mine, nature is very fascinating right now. I make it a little routine every day to open all of the curtains. This allows Little One the chance to look outside. My husband placed a bird feeder right in front of the window. She runs to the window every morning and says “bird!” Some days I just let her look, other days she’ll ask me to come over and we talk about what we see. Again, this is another great vocabulary builder. I may say something like “Do you see the bird in the tree” or “It’s raining outside today.” We tend to make it a little game!
Dance and listen to music
My daughter loves music! As soon as a song comes on she starts to dance. We play different things through the day. Some days it’s just instrumentals other days it’s Disney, it really just depends. One of her favorite songs right now is Baby Beluga by Raffi. We also make music. She has a tambourine, egg shaker, and a xylophone. There’s no structure to this play time, I just let her do her thing!
Go to the Park
Ah Yes, the park! We LOVE the park! The swing is her favorite right now. Since she is a young toddler, I try to find parks with toddler sized equipment. I want her to explore without me having to stop her because something might be unsafe. Park time gets out the wiggles! It allows toddlers to be toddlers! She can climb, run, jump, or tumble! The sandbox is another favorite. She will kick off her shoes and head in!
Go For a Walk
Once little one became mobile we started taking toddler guided walks. She chooses where we go, and we stop whenever she wants to stop. She make stop to listen to a bird, pick up a stick, look at a rock, the list can go on and on! She prefers this to being in the stroller. My daughter has never been a stroller baby. We tend to take these walks once daddy gets home, it helps burn off some energy before dinner.
Library Story Time
Most libraries have free story time for baby’s and toddlers. This is a great way to get out of the house if you guys are getting cabin fever. They generally sing and read maybe one or two stories. It’s super fun, plus we’ve met a few friends while there.
Read Some Books
We love books in this house! My daughter has her favorites that she can read over and over. Reading is also a good way to calm down before nap time. I keep a few books in the bedroom and in the living room in case she wants some downtime. You can see what we are reading currently here.
There you have it! A few screen free activities that you can do with your toddler! I hope these give you some inspiration. So tell me in the comments below, are you currently trying limit screen time? If so, what steps are you taking? I’d love to hear from you!