Kyle is in a mastermind with a great group of guys and the other day one of the members asked
How do you get your kids to play with toys/games instead of electronics and television?
Kyle and I chatted about it in our kitchen. Here’s an outline of our 3 minute conversation on the subject.
1. Turn on the MUSIC!
Music is a big deal in our house. We stream Apple Music or Pandora through a house-wide Sonos system and it’s some of the best money we’ve ever spent. If our kids are zoning out to iPads or the tv, music snaps them out of it. I wish you could witness the transformation. Something happens. The fog lifts and motivation arrives. (And not just for the kiddos!)
That said, please note: Music has a substantial effect on mood, so choose uplifting, major key music. Lately we’ve been listening to the new Tim Timmons cut and we always listen to Dave Barnes. When this kind of music is on, the kids have a tendency to grab toys, create, and play.
Side note, we also use music to snap our kids out of other funks…like when they’re fighting or bugging the crap out of us.
2. Start with the the TV OFF.
Have you ever noticed how much energy it takes to turn off the TV? It’s excruciating difficult. Simple solution? Don’t turn it on! At least not to start the day!
Mornings without TV lend themselves to more creative play, inside and outdoors. We don’t worry about what show we are missing because frankly we don’t know what’s “coming up next!”
3. Don’t let them “own” electronics.
Now before we get too much backlash on this, let me assure you, we have enough ipads in the house to supply a Best Buy. (Not really, but you get the point.) But none of them BELONG to our kids. Do they want them to? Yes! Trager and Kerbi have asked many times, “Can this be MY iPad?” Nope. It’s the family’s. You may use it, but it’s not yours.
I think when a kid has their own device it COULD lead to a sense of entitlement to be able to use it as much and whenever he/she wants. “But it’s MINE! Why can’t I play on this? You GAVE it to me! “
Now I know this isn’t always the case and many parents don’t agree on our stance. I have close friends whose children have devices and their is no entitlement issues. But for us, we are putting off that particular battle by simply not allowing them to have their own device…yet.