Ways to get the grandkids to unplug
Jan 6, 2012, 9:30 a.m.
If your grandkids would rather punch out bad guys on a video screen than hang out with grandma and grandpa, you’re not alone. Just because you’re not alone doesn’t mean you have to be happy with it – or are powerless to do something about it. Crafty strategies can help get your grandchildren unplugged from the TV, video game or computer and plugged into some quality time with their grandparents.
Showing an interest in what they are doing is a good place to start. Checking out what they’re doing is always a solid strategy for raising grandchildren, but doing so when they are plugged in provides an automatic and natural transition into other activities.
Ask about the characters, plot or action on the screen – then bring up a book or board game that is similar and encourage them to read or play. Raising grandchildren often means having a cabinet stocked with games for children, so pull out the Chinese checkers, cards, dominoes or board games that might be similar in strategy or style to what’s on the screen.
Raising grandchildren also means having lots of arts and craft supplies at the ready. The characters, plot lines and action on the screen can translate into a creative collage, paper bag or finger puppets or illustrations that mimic the action or create a whole new plot.
Role playing games for children can also work. Each of you take on the role of a character and shape the story any way you see fit. Add new characters as needed and include funny traits and scenarios of your own.
If slightly nudging your grandchildren into human interaction does not work, you might need to set some ground rules to help them unplug. Setting a time limit for TV, video games or recreational computer use can work, with two hours per day as a healthy maximum.
You can also designate specific days of the week as “unplugged time.” Celebrate with a trip to the park, zoo, mall or engaging in an activity your grandchildren enjoy. They may have so much fun they'll forget to plug back in indefinitely.
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