Nowadays children are staying in more and more, instead of going outdoors to play. The digital age, which has brought with it a wide range of devices and online games, have got young children bent down on screens almost 24*7. They have almost zero motivation to go outdoors and play.
Even when kids get together to play, they get together to play on their iPads, phones or laptops, so the attraction of playing with friends has also lost as a reason for kids to go outdoors. But, outdoor activity is a must for all kids in their growing years, not just for the physical activity and development but also for social skills and mental growth.
So how do you convince the kids of the millennial era, to go and sweat it out in the open, instead of lounging on couches and staring at screens? Here are some tips that might help you out.
- Limit Screen Time For Everyone
You cannot completely remove screens from a child’s life, but what you can do is limit the exposure of your child to any type of screen, be it television, tablets, phones etc. To make this more effective, apply the same rule to every member of the family, including yourself. Dedicate specific number of hours as ‘screen time’ and instruct your kids that beyond those number of hours no one will be allowed to use any type of screen.
- Outdoor Play Area
Children will not feel motivated to go out and play if there is no play area or equipment. The first step that you should take is check out some stores that sell outdoor play equipment in Australia and shortlist some age appropriate play equipment for your children. After you’ve shortlisted the equipment you would like to buy for your kids, check out and measure a space near your home which you would like to turn into a play area for your kids.
Then purchase the outdoor equipment and get it installed, this will motivate the kids to go out and explore the new play equipment outside and hence they will step out to play more often.
Sometimes you need to get creative and unique with your ideas to get kids to do something. Get involved with your kids’ outdoor activities so that the kids have something new to look forward to when they go outdoors to play. You could have a weekly family football match or ask your kids to go cycling and run some errands, this would get them out of the house doing some physical activity with the attraction of doing something different and unique.
- Educate Them
Sit your kids down and explain to them with examples of how lack of outdoor activity can affect their bodies and minds. If you show them research and statistics of how too much screen time can be harmful for the eyes, they might feel convinced to go out and play more often. Although, children are young to understand research and statistics, try and approach them with the research and statistics in a way that they can fathom and understand it.
Kids need to be shown reason as to why something is bad for them. The Y generation or the millenials, have not seen a time without gadgets as their parents might’ve seen, so for them gadgets are as normal as outdoor games. As their parents, you need to give them logic as to why something is bad for them or why outdoor games are better for their bodies and minds.
The only way to get them out is to either give them better alternatives to gadgets or make them see logic and reasoning as to why going outdoors to play is important to them. Which approach will work for your kid is for you to figure out, because each child is different.