Put the Happy Back in Your Holidays: Finding gifts for kids to avoid screen time

Put the Happy Back in Your Holidays: Finding gifts for kids to avoid screen time

More studies are proving what parents already know: too much screen time has negative impacts on the development of a child’s brain. And with Christmas fast approaching, getting children gifts that avoid those screens could be very beneficial.

Screens are almost impossible to avoid. They dominate nearly every aspect of our lives, from work to pleasure. And our kids are using them earlier and earlier, which is having big impacts on their development, especially their attention span.

“They’re not getting that same level of input, so their brains start to look for that same level of stimulus elsewhere, and it presents its form of attention defecits, fidgeting and just an overall more difficult time attending to whatever it may be,” said Miles Pfaff, an occupational therapist with Achieve Center in Spokane.

These are important things to keep in mind while doing your christmas shopping.

So, what are some gifts your kids will enjoy and also help stimulate their minds?

“Legos, probably first and foremost. Again, no screen, but at the same time it works on fine motor skills, visual developmental skills. Any kind of board games, card games, really good for social skills,” Pfaff said.

Pfaff says you also can’t go wrong with the classics, like dolls and action figures. Look for toys that require them to use their imagination.

“That imagination, that ability to self entertain becomes so important later in life,” he said. “And if their at that age just getting that input from a screen, it’s cheating in a sense.”

That’s not to say your kids can’t spend any time on the screen. But as they age, it’s important to monitor how much time they are spending looking at devices.

“The biggest thing, I think, is using it in moderation,” said Pfaff

And of course, make sure whatever gift you get is age appropriate. That could require some research.

“Maybe looking at it online, looking at reviews, looking at things that other parents have said. There’s a lot of websites out there that do give you that information,” Pfaff said.

There are plenty of toys out there that can be great gifts for children. Just look for things that focus on skills like building, problem solving or working with others. These could all have a big benefit on your child’s brain.

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