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3. Engage your children in parallel play. Often children want to be right with us when we have been separated all day. Sometimes you can set up activities for children to do alongside your household tasks. Some families keep a child-sized kitchen setup in or near the kitchen. This allows children to imitate your cooking activities. You can provide small containers and add a little play dough so children can pretend to cook. You can also bring out a few special toys that are reserved just for this time of day. Or try bringing in a large, comfy pillow and a few books so your children can hang out and look at books in your vicinity.
4. Set up a special activity for your children while you are cooking. Listening to music or to books or stories on tape can be a good substitute for television. If you put out a few scarves, pieces of cloth or hats, children may choose to dress up or dance to the music.
5. Hire an older neighborhood child to come in and play with your kids while you get dinner ready. Look around your neighborhood (or your family's circle of friends) to see if there is an older child (six years and up, depending on the child) who would like to come and spend an hour with your children in the evening while you are preparing dinner. You can pay the child a small sum. If you find a child who is a good match for your children and family, this can turn into a treasured time of day for all. Remember that they will still need some supervision and checking in from you.
How do you lure your kids away from the TV? Share your thoughts below.