We have a rule in the Mad House that there are no electronics after 6pm. For us this means no Ipads, video games, phones and computers for the boys after 6pm. I have read that the LCD screens can affect the production of melatonin by up to 22% and therefore, make it much harder to get to sleep.
This has been a long term rule at our house and we encourage the boys to read real books, play board games, chat, do jigsaw puzzles and crafts after six pm until bed time or even play outside (which is their current favorite activity).
At the moment the boys go to bed around 8pm and come inside around 7pm as there is a one year old living next door.
We do allow some TV, especially if there is documentary we have recorded and we often do this, so we can sit as a family and watch it together.
Now the boys are seven and eight we are transitioning from junior jigsaw puzzles to family ones as we have been struggling to find age appropriate ones that provide a challenge. So Orchard Toys sent a couple of their talk along 150 piece puzzles and they have been great fun for the boys to do together. The one below is Dinosaur Discovery and is 150 pieces. It is perfect for the boys to do on their own and within a timescale that stops them getting board. We were also sent Where is the wood too. I would say that these puzzles are perfect for up to age seven, they have good sized pieces and are very well made. Plus they come with ideas for discussions based on the puzzles, so are great for family time. Plus at less than £10 each they are perfectly priced as birthday gifts.
We are also moving on to reading chapter books as a family and doing lots of puzzle books. Maxi particularly likes sudoku and crosswords, whist Mini really loves drawing.
I also have to say that it is good for us as a family to mindfully turn off the screens and play together. We have scramble battles, play bananagrams and still love dino dice. Boggle is one of my favorites at the moment too.
We are also trying to reduce our dependance on screens for those I am boarded moments whilst waiting for food to be served or waiting in queses with small games and have recently been sent Dobble from Esdevium Games, which is a card game and the perfect size for keeping in my bag. It is a card game, which is based on the concept of snap and needs, speed, good observation and super fast reflexes. You can play up to five different mini games from the one tin of 55 cards (which are circular) and is a great game for all ages and is currently less than £10.
What are your favorite screen free pastimes?