We've always tried to be intentional about reducing Henry's screen time. A while back, we weren't letting him watch any on the weekdays but then we were letting him watch shows for about 45-60 minutes while Tate slept on the weekends.
Then it started to feel like too much. I dreaded the thought of trying to pull back his screen time (I envisioned massive fits), but I reminded myself, "You're the parent. If you think it's not good for him to watch so much TV, then you should institute a new limit." And so we did. Now we do only one 15-minute show on Saturday or Sunday. And it feels so much better.
However, there are still times when I'm craving something to occupy him without any of my attention (like if I'm having trouble getting Tate down for a nap) or if I want to just sit and knit. Henry and Tate don't have much trouble playing together without much attention, but Henry struggles when Tate is sleeping.
Enter Sparkle Stories. I read about them on a blog years ago but just recently looked them up. And we love them! We get access to several of them for free, and we will listen to one or two a weekend. I simply use the podcast app on my phone.
They engage Henry the same way TV does, and yet they demand more active brain involvement since he has to visualize what's happening. They are such sweet, realistic stories. I'm especially inspired by Martin & Sylvia. They give us a lot of ideas about what to do as a family!