5 Secrets to a Screen Free Daycare {Blog Hop}

Screen Free Week 5 secrets


Screens are EVERYWHERE.  Children today are growing up in a screen-infested world.  Screens aren’t going anywhere fast, so we need to figure out how to balance technology for our children with real life.  How much screen entertainment is too much?  How do we manage running a home daycare without the help of TV and educational laptop games?

I can give you the five strategies that help me run a screen free home daycare.  My daycare is screen free but my life is not.  My own children love watching funny videos and playing on the ipad on weekends.

I’ve decided to take part in Screen Free Week this year from April 29- May 5, 2013.

Millions of people will be turning off their screens and tuning into other activities for that week. The CCFC (Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood)  has a free guide you can download about the effects of screen technology with young children. The stats are scary on how much time young children (1-4 year olds) spend in front of screens on a daily basis.  Reading through the guide motivated me to pledge a screen free week for my own family from April 29-May 5.  I’ll keep you posted on how it went!  (I’m a bit worried; I have a serious Pinterest addiction)


5 Secrets to a Screen Free Home Daycare

My home daycare is screen free.  I advertise a screen free environment for my daycare clients because I believe children need to play to learn.  As a parent,  I wouldn’t want to pay someone else good money to have my kids watch T.V. at their house.   I’d want to save their screen time for just before dinner, when chaos happens and you need the help of Dora to get food on the table.

With that being said, there have been plenty of times I wish I hadn’t made my daycare screen free.  Some daycare days can be downright crazy and a little screen relief would be easier on me.  However, I made the decision because I believe it is best for the children.  Here’s how I’ve managed to run a screen free home daycare for the last six years.


1. Avoid Temptations

I could turn on the T.V. at my house but the kids would just see a blue screen.  We don’t have cable TV.  My husband and I tried going cable free one summer when we moved to a new place and wanted to force ourselves to be more active.  It was a big adjustment at first but then we discovered all this extra free time!  Extra free time felt better than aimless channel surfing and we haven’t had cable since (that was over ten years ago).

We do have children’s videos for our own kids but there is no T.V. in the daycare section of the house.  Removing screens from the daycare space is a huge help in removing temptation.


2. Screen Free Routine

The daycare children never ask to watch TV because it’s never been available.  It has never been a part of our routine and therefore never missed.  My own children are used to the daycare routine that involves lots of playing and activity without screens therefore they don’t ask to watch videos or play on the ipad.  There are times in the daily routine (before lunch) where TV would come in handy to distract the children but I have found other activities for them to do.

I put out puzzles or books when I need a few minutes to prepare lunch uninterrupted.  Or I pull out a bin of musical instruments and let them play marching band.  I find play dough and colouring to be fantastic activities for extended blocks of time.  I have a few baskets of independent games and toys that are not always available and therefore exciting when they do come out.


3. Offer suggestions, not Entertainment

There are times in the day that the children don’t know what to play.  I feel this is normal and a part of childhood.  I never offer any sort of entertainment when they are bored.  I don’t feel like it is my job to entertain them.  They wander around a bit and then generally find inspiration within five minutes.

If they are having an ‘out of sorts’ kind of day and are having trouble finding a game to play, I will ask them if they want a suggestion. If they say yes, I’ll suggest a few activities they haven’t done in awhile (a craft, building, painting, lacing cards, etc).  If they decline my offer of suggestions, I will invite them to help me with whatever chore needs to be done (wash the dishes, water the plants).  Ten minutes of social conversation working together on a meaningful task is normally all they need to change their mood.  After the chore is done they are off playing happily again.


4. Read Books

We read a lot of books.  The children often go to the book shelf and look at books when they desire a quiet passive activity.  Books with wonderful illustrations and intriguing stories give the children endless ideas for play.  The children have opened ended toys and props at their disposal to act out books and create imaginary worlds.


5. Outside Play

I try very hard to get outside everyday with the children for outside play time.  The days when we are cooped up inside for hours on end are the days when I want screen relief.  The children come back inside from outside play time so much calmer and happier.  It’s like a magic ‘reset’ button for so many of my children.


I invite you to take part in Screen Free Week this year from April 29- May 5, 2013. Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

Join the screen free blog hop here and visit these great blogs to gather more screen free ideas.


  1. I also have a screen-free daycare and follow the same 5 strategies. I think never making an exception is key; “We don’t watch TV at Carol’s.” I see this as supportive to families, freeing them to have the TV on guilt-free while prepping dinner after a long day:)

    • HowToDaycare says

      I agree with you Carol, never making an exception is key. Your daycare parents are lucky to have you so they can feel guilt free when they put the TV on in the evening. Do you find having a TV free daycare easy or challenging at times?

  2. I don’t run a daycare, but I do have a one-year- old (almost 2) and I have noticed that the less we watch TV, the less he asks for it. It was bad when flu season ran through our house, but since the weather’s been nicer, it’s been a non-issue.

    Thanks for an informative post! I love the ideas for giving my busy boy something to do:)

  3. Love this! Great tips =) We are screen free this week too.

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! I always look forward to seeing what you’ve been doing! Hope to see you again tomorrow,
    Beth =)

  4. I’d love for you to share your family-friendly crafts and ideas at Monday Kid Corner at thejennyevolution.com. See you at the party!


  5. This is really a great post about childcare. Thanks for sharing this and keep posting.

  6. Awesome post.