Christmas Activities to Pull Your Kids from Their Smartphone Screens
Prying your kids away from technology over the holidays can be challenging and frustrating. American children between the ages of 8 and 12 spend an average of 6 hours a day consuming media, with 4.5 hours spent on smartphone, tablet and laptop screens screens, according to a report by Common Sense media. For teenagers, this rises to an average of 9 hours a day, including 6.5 hours, with some 13-year-olds checking social media 100 times a day. Getting your kids to participate in family holiday activities means dragging them away from cyberspace and the TV. Here are four screen-free activities you can use to help get your kids to focus on the family over the holidays.
Decorate Your Home for the Holidays
One way to get your family away from technology is getting together to decorate your home for the holidays. Decorating your house and your Christmas tree can provide both some quality time together as well as a daily remember of the holiday season. You may already have your own lights and decorations, but if not, you can shop for some together or, better yet, make some together. You can make Christmas ornaments out of items as simple as decorated twigs bound together in snowflake shapes, as Country Living suggests. Martha Stewart provides some fancier ideas for homemade Christmas decorations, such as Christmas tree placecards, table decorations and shooting star lights. You can also buy kits for making decorations at home.
Bake Christmas Treats
Baking Christmas treats is another way to spend some time together over the holidays. Traditional Christmas treats that are easy to bake include gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, snickerdoodles and caramel corn. Betty Crocker provides dozens of recipes you can use. If you’re looking for healthier alternatives to traditional treats, try the Food Network’s recipes for healthy holiday cookies. You can pick up inexpensive Christmas cookie cutters from retailers such as Walmart.
Serve the Needy
Serving the needy can bring the family together for the holidays while reminding each other of the reason for the season. One simple way to do this is by participating in charitable holiday activities organized by local religious or philanthropic groups, such as preparing gift baskets for needy children, taking gifts to a women’s shelter, sharing some canned goods with a local food pantry or visiting nursing home patients to pass out gifts or sing Christmas carols. You can also come up with your own charitable ideas and traditions. For instance, your family can spread Christmas cheer by baking homemade cookies and then distributing them to a list of gift recipients in a decorated “Cookie Car.”
Buy or Make Christmas Gifts
Christmas gifts can be another way to bring the family together and get the kids away from their smartphones. Going shopping together can be a family experience, or for even more active personal participation, you can make homemade Christmas gifts together. You can make Christmas gifts by making use of skills that family members already have. For instance, if one family member is good at knitting, they might make mittens, socks or scarves. Or if they’re good at crafts, they might make a table or bookshelf. Good Housekeeping provides dozens of ideas for homemade Christmas gifts, including handmade soap, embroidered handkerchiefs and jewelry boxes.