10 Ways to Occupy a Child

This week is International Screen Free Week.

My family has had more screen time than usual this week.

Oops.

As you know, I recently started this blog, and I have been working hard to give you new content every day.  More time at the computer = more screen time for me.

As a mommy blogger, I have to occupy my children while I write.  The easiest solution? Plop them in front of PBS Kids.  They are engaged, I can write, simple.  (As I write, they are both still asleep.  I do not have them sitting in front of the TV while I write about being screen-free.  I am, however, sitting at the computer.)

I try hard not to let them watch more than two hours per day, as is recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics.  I tend to look at this as about 4 half-hour shows.  Most days, I am successful at this.  Two hours per day, though, as little as it may sound, adds up over the course of a week.

In honor of Screen Free Week, here are 10 ways to occupy your child so you can surf the internet do other work.

  1. Drawing or coloring.  For Easter, we got the kids huge pads of paper and a big coloring book, and they love them and use them more than regular 8×11 paper.
  2. Play-dough.  I make my own, and when I do it with the kids, it doubles as a science experiment.
  3. Play with the toys they already have.
  4. Make toys out of recycled material, such as old cereal boxes and milk jugs.
  5. Bang on pots and pans. Granted, you probably can’t write while they bang, but you can vacuum.
  6. Turn on the radio to encourage them to dance and sing.  (NPR doesn’t seem to do that for my kids, though.)
  7. Put masking tape on the floor to use as a train track or a road for cars. Just remember to clean it up within a few days.
  8. Build a fort with chairs and blankets.
  9. Give them contact paper with construction paper, tissue paper, newspaper, junk mail, leaves, or whatever else you have, to make a picture.
  10. Give them a bath as long as you can see the bathtub (and look at them frequently) from whatever work you’re doing.  I like to use bathtime to fold laundry.

If this doesn’t satisfy you, here are some more ideas for occupying a toddler!

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