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Getting the balance right between traditional play and electronic play….

sand timer

As parents in this modern age, I think many of us struggle to come to grips with the huge amount of electronic devices that children want to use. We have to and need to embrace electronics as they play a huge part of the way we all function and will continue to become a larger part of our lives going forward. Let’s face it, computers and the internet have changed our lives massively and as a mother of 3 young children, I love the fact that I can now order my groceries online without having to take the children with me!!

However I often find myself asking ‘How much time screen time should my child have?’ as I do get concerned about the amount of time children spend on electronic devices like computers, games consoles and iPad’s/iPod’s in addition to the time they spend in front of the TV.

Many children naturally spend more time playing or drawing/doing arty things but for some children (like my eldest – 6years old) the appeal of computers (the Nintendo Wii in his case), is just too great and they want to be on it all the time.

We struggled with this initially as once he had played it, he wanted to play it all the time and although I didn’t want to upset him and take it away entirely, I wanted to ensure that he continued to play in a more traditional manor too.

Children are not young children for very long and I didn’t want to watch him spending the next few years just playing on the Wii; I wanted to watch him inventing imaginative games with his brother and sister, playing with toys, running around the garden in his wellies and dressing up in costumes. However every time I asked to stop playing the Wii, the struggle commenced, he just didn’t want to stop. Even when I had given him a particular time frame and told him the time was up, he felt like he hadn’t being playing it for that long and always wanted longer.

This changed entirely when we invested in a sand timer! This literally changed everything; the battle was gone! As soon as the Sand Timer is turned over, he can see his time has begun and can then physically see the time moving. Once all the sand has reached the bottom, there is no argument, he knows his session is over and just switches the machine off! We were amazed at how effective it was, it really has helped immensely. I found a way to get my child off the computer without a fight, amazing! I now feel that we have the balance right with the way he plays at home and we’re all much happier for it.

If this is something you have been battling with in your house, I can’t recommend a Sand Timer enough! It’s a great way to let children use electronics without them taking over so there’s still plenty of time for playing with traditional toys, imaginative play, running their energy off outdoors and being arty.

We wouldn’t be without ours now!