18 April 2011

Five Things I Do with My Children Instead of Watching TV

The Peaceful Housewife

This post is part of The Peaceful Housewife's Natural Parenting Blog Party.

I want to have children, not zombies so I limit the amount of television we watch during the day. If we watch anything, it is usually a movie within the confines of the 2 hour per day limit set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Most of the time, my children play uninterrupted, but when I pause to interact with them, here are some of the things I do.  

Look out the Window: Both of my daughters love looking out the window. It provides a seemingly endless array of opportunities for learning and quiet observation. There is always something interesting to point out to them or just something to reinforce. We watch people walking different kinds of dogs, adults carrying groceries, children playing and whatever nature has in store.

Heidi mopping the floor.
Use My Child as a Mop: Heidi loves to move, as most toddlers do, and has recently taken to dancing with assistance. When she doesn’t want to do that, I slide her all over the floor either on her butt or on a blanket. Naturally, I do this in the kitchen and not on our carpeted floors and I try not to pull on Heidi’s arms too much. Instead, I use her butt or the blanket she’s on as a propellant and she slides easily all over the floor. I get tired of doing this long before she does, but at least I know she’s receiving attention from me, getting exercise and feeling connected to me all at once.

Sing a Song: And while you’re at it, dance! Heidi loves to sing, mostly gibberish, but occasionally she’ll throw some real words in there. Very often she will simply sing “sing a song” over and over again and I usually join her. At times when all else has failed and she needs to be redirected from something she’s doing, I will “sing a song” to get her attention and return her to a happy, playful mood. Singing leads to dancing, which often leads to the above mopping. All of these things take up a good portion of our day.

Run Around in Circles: The first floor of our apartment is essentially a circle; the living room is open to both the dining room and kitchen, which surround the laundry room. As you might imagine, this presents a perfect opportunity for running, chasing and playing peek-a-boo. When all else fails, I instigate a chase and let her get some good running in, followed by some sort of quiet activity. Piper even gets in on the action crawling as fast as she can (since she’s not yet up to running) after whoever is closest to her. This often turns in to quite the family activity and is much more fun than watching TV.

Go Upstairs: When I need to put a lot of clothes away or do something else that requires my attention upstairs, I take H & P with me. I put the gate up so they can’t go down the stairs and I let them run back and forth between their rooms, playing with toys they don’t normally play with during the day. It also offers them a change of scenery, something that is especially important when we cannot go outside.

Naturally, we do many, many other things while not watching television, but most of them are things you’ve already read about. I try to get creative (when inspiration strikes me) to keep them more interested in using their minds than being mindless so as I think of more interesting things to do, I will be sure to share them with you.


  1. LOVE the mop idea LOL! Thanks for the suggestions, I've noticed it's screen free week this week, so perfect timing :)

  2. Yes! I just saw that too! It's funny that I had this written before I even knew about that, so I'm glad I'm in tune with those things... :)