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"One more game mom." If I had gotten a euro every time I heard that... Everyone with children faces it: screen time. Especially during Corona times, I feel like a police officer in my own home. Making rules and agreements about how long people stare at a screen, whether it is gaming, watching TV or Tiktok... That screen time must be reduced!! Play outside, build huts, climb trees, skate, play tag, dust off your Lego. I don't know, as long as it doesn't have a glass plate with moving and addictive things.

It drove me crazy and actually still does. Because it seems like fighting the odds. Social media and games are becoming increasingly addictive and I think that is noticeable. 

My opinion

With my work (for Sell your stuff online, among others) I have been sucked into all the social media there are over the past 25 years and I LOVE it - now as much as I 'hate' it. I can say that I know how social media works, which means I think I can give a plausible opinion on the online-versus-kids issue. But that's my opinion and it doesn't have to be yours.

Fortnite mom

Fortnite mom

Our son is almost 11 and likes to play Minecraft, Fortnite and Roblox. In the beginning I also delved into Fortnite myself, I enjoy gaming at least as much as he does. Together we pixelated many opponents and I still enjoy helping him with challenges. It's not about whether it's fun or not - it's about the time spent mindlessly doing something.

I now understand that he likes to game and it was a godsend during the lockdown, because he usually plays online with a large group of friends. Put on your headphones and chat and have a blast. Because I also understand that banning makes no sense, I am sharing the things I oppose to mindless screen use. Who knows, maybe this will help you and your kids a bit and you might even have a good tip yourself! Let me know :-)

Also fun > Discover your child's endless fantasy world

Tip 1 - KiwiCo crates

When we discovered these KiwiCo activity boxes, we were immediately sold. Our son has already made several Tinker projects and loves them. I am also 'over the moon' that it is a screen-free activity that he is interested in. What is it? In short, it is a box (called a crate) with a project of your choice that you can receive monthly. With these KiwiCo projects, a child builds his or her creative confidence and learns problem-solving skills in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. There is an inspiring line for every age and interest and in every crate you will find an educational magazine, all (!) project supplies and detailed instructions. KiwiCo box - €16.95

Tip 2 - Music

Soprano Ukulele UK-10 Blue

For €36 you can get a very nice Ukelele like this blue Makawao Ukelele . Our son asked for it himself and was given it as a gift when he went to the next group. Since then he's been tinkering with it a bit and using YouTube a little more intelligently than before. He now searches for Ukulele tutorials instead of 'Can you swim in a pool with millions of orbeez?'. There is also a nice Ukulele app to learn to play and there are a number of Dutch courses. Tadaaa!

Tip 3 - Create stop motion videos

I don't mind using an iPad to make a stop motion video. Because that is creative. So we created a YouTube account and found the perfect Stop Motion Studio app for making stop motion videos. The agreement so far is that Mini himself is not on it, nor is his voice, and that I upload the video for him. He now occasionally makes a fun video with his toys and sometimes spends hours doing it.

Tip 4 - Drawing

Do you have a creative child? Then drawing on the iPad is really a solution. Since the Procreate app has been added to the iPad, a lot of beautiful things have been created. Not only at home, also on the road. Last year he enjoyed drawing with his girlfriend on the other side of the Netherlands. Then they FaceTimed each other and drew and chatted together, sometimes for hours at a time. Mini has saved up a pen for this, which draws a lot better than your finger. This does not necessarily have to be an Apple Pencil, this Stylus Pen dupe also works fine.

Long story short - You see, the screen is quite present here, but a large part of the time it is used very creatively in combination with an offline activity. And I think that's the key. Because fortunately new developments are not all bad, you just have to know how to deal with them. And we as parents have a big role in that!

If you want to understand the other side of social media, watch the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma (possibly with the kids).

Leave your opinion below!

Tell me, how do you deal with this? Do you have any useful tips & tricks? You can now find them again below. I'm curious!

Mariko Naber

The author: Mariko Naber

Branding expert and online entrepreneur Mariko is the happy brain behind Happlify. Together with partner Mark, she runs Happlify, Sell your stuff online and branding agency Loaded ink BNO . She loves feel good, random acts of kindness, meatballs, chocolate mousse, family time, sea, piña colada, sugar & spice and everything nice.

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