While the world stays home in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19, it can be a really interesting experience with children. As a parent, it can be tough to figure out how to entertain children while you maintain your sanity. However, you don’t want them to become slaves to the television screen or a smart tablet either. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can encourage time away from screens during the quarantine. Consider some of the following ideas.

1. Gradual Change

It’s important to make things gradual. If you stop turn off the video games abruptly, it’ll be harder to let it go. Plus, you’re not necessarily saying they need to get rid of the video games altogether. Instead, you’d like for your children to spend less time in front of the screens. If they currently spend five hours in front of the television, shave off thirty minutes at a time. As a parent, you get to decide how much time you’d like your children to spend in front of the television. If two hours seem reasonable, shave off time until they’re down to two hours each day.

2. Professional Counselor

If you’re struggling to get your child to pull away from the videogames, it might be time to call in the reinforcements. When you’re approaching the concept of how to break a child’s video game addiction, you’re dealing with a very serious issue. That’s why it’s best to become very intentional regarding how you approach the solution. When you invite a counselor into the equation, you might experience hesitation, resentment or agitation from your child. However, don’t give in to their tantrums. You already know that it’s for their own good. Don’t allow your child to send you on a guilt trip for choosing this method. In the long run, they’ll thank you.

3. Hobby Development

Every child needs to develop some hobby during the quarantine. You can opt to give them an array of options. Puzzles are inexpensive ways to challenge the mind and develop focus. Board games are always tons of fun. Crossword puzzles, sewing, and painting are more awesome ways for children to occupy their time. Don’t underestimate the power of a great playlist, coloring books, and crayons. For at least an hour each day, make sure your children spend time on a hobby they enjoy that doesn’t include screen time.

4. Reading

It’s really necessary for children to cultivate a strong love of reading. Whether they start with audiobooks and use physical books for reinforcements, make sure your children read every single day. They can use some of their screen time for reading. Since it’s replacing the time they would’ve spent on their devices, it’s great to allow them to read books they’d actually be interested in. When they’re interested in the book, they’re more likely to pick it up and read it.

5. Outdoor Time

While you don’t want to bring your children to the local playground or park, you can take everyone for a walk. Fresh air is actually important for everyone to experience. Before you leave the house, be mindful of the city you’re in. If you’re in a city like Manhattan or Los Angeles, you might want to enjoy the fresh air by taking a drive with the windows down. However, if you’re in a zip code that doesn’t have as many cases, it’s okay to go for a walk. Make sure everyone wears their own mask. They can get on their bikes, rollerskates, or rollerblades to ride alongside you. This is a great way to kill an hour of the day while the children are completely away from their devices. Plus, physical activity is great for the body. If you all have a backyard, enjoy time in the backyard in order to gain some margin while avoiding screen time. Turn the backyard into a great outdoor play area with a fenced-in trampoline, outdoor board games, and more.

As you work toward making sure your children remain entertained, don’t forget that you all are in the middle of a global pandemic. If you are too tired to figure out what to do, don’t beat yourself up if you allow the children to binge-watch shows for the weekend. As long as you implement these tips and maintain a semblance of balance, your children will be fine. The key is to make sure you all get through it with healthy bodies, hearts, and minds.