Sunday 24 May 2020

How to Make Screentime Productive for Toddlers

Screen time! A lot has been said and done to address this elephant in the room.You can fight it, you can give in to it, but you definitely can't ignore it.
Parents all around the globe have been trying to limit access and dependence on it, but in the current scenario it has became like a necessary evil, as parents try to juggle work and home while being home bound with kids.
My daughter is almost 3 now, and we are not different. Just like mommy enjoys her screen time (read instagram) her daughter loves Youtube; nursery rhymes, short stories and her favourite bollywood songs.
Before the corona virus hit us, it was really easy to control her screen time, because being a  preschooler, she had a schedule of her own. School time, nap time, play time and so on. But now with schools closed and no access to parks and her friends, Ishanvi tends to get bored pretty easily. Living in a joint family, Ishanvi is fortunate to have her grandparents around who do their best to keep her entertained and engaged while her parents try to work from home. But screen time, yes it totally exists in our household too. After all everyone needs a breather.
I wasn't really thinking about  it too much until I gave it a second thought and decided to act smart with Ishanvi's screen time. I thought if Ishanvi has to have screen time, it better be informative and fun. And so began my expedition to research and curate toddler relevant content that was fun, informative and would keep her independently engaged for sometime during the day. So here's a list of content that we show Ishanvi. Now she not only enjoys seeing it but learns so much too.

Nursery Rhymes:
If we want Ishanvi to memorize anything we just keep repeating it in front of her. This technique when combined with screen time works wonders. We keep playing nursery rhymes that we want her to learn, and in a few days we are surprised to see that she has memorized them and is singing them independently.

Studies have shown that chanting shlokas helps to improve concentration and memory in kids. That is because shlokas emit vibrations that activate one's chakras that aid in learning and concentration.
But the tricky part about shloka videos is they usually do not come with cute and fun videos to keep the kids engrossed. So I took some extra efforts to dig in videos of shlokas that have fun visual content too that keeps her hooked to the screen while she learns a few shlokas along the way.


Short Stories:
As a kid I loved story telling sessions with my mom. Not only was my mom a great story teller but a patient person too, both qualities which I seem to lack. So I got some help from Youtube. We not only show her Indian mythological stories, Panchatantra and Jataka tales but also classic old fairy tales that I grew up watching, like Hansel and Gretel, Gingerbreadman, etc

Yoga for kids:
It's a no brainer that physical activity is a must for kids especially now, since we are all confined to our homes. So I tried to introduce Yoga to Ishanvi. Every morning we would do some breathing exercises and stretches and graduated to some asanas. But she lost interest in it in a few days and refused to join me. So I found a few videos that teach yoga to kids in a fun and interactive way. This seems to be working for now. So I feel its definitely worth a try.

What would life be without art? Very dull and boring.   
Someone said , art is as natural as sunshine and as vital as nourishment. So why would you deprive your kids of it?
Since Ishanvi is too young to do art independently, we try to make this a family affair.

We all sit in front of the screen with the necessary supplies along with Ishanvi and guide her to create art. These are some of our favourite videos.

General Knowledge:
The next category is general knowledge.
A few weeks ago, we found this fun Chota Bheem video and it introduced Ishanvi to planets.

She loved it so much that she wanted to hear it on loop.
Slowly she learned all the names of the eight planets and we showed her a few more videos to explain a few characteristics of each of the planets. 

After this success, we started searching for more such videos to introduce generic concepts to Ishanvi. This has been working great, since Ishanvi would never sit down in one place and listen to me if I tried explaining it to her. A few videos that we like:
Why do we have Eyebrows?
How and why do we Cough?
That's it. You too can try and make screen time informative for your kids by putting in a little efforts. Please let me know, if you like these ideas, and if you want to add more please drop us a comment.


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