As parents, we want nothing but the best for our children. With modern technology, our lives have gotten easier, but it also made us less active, especially in the outdoor playgrounds. Let’s motivate our kids to get involved in outdoor physical activities as much as we can.
When I was growing up, there were no computers around, or none of the smart phones. Come to think of it, I am so old, when I was a kid, we didn’t even have a color TV, and cartoons were only on Saturday afternoons.
Well, that was a long time ago, but the world has changed a lot since then. Modern lifestyle is more technologically advanced with new gadgets emerging every day. Although science and the latest inventions are meant to make our lives easier, one of the pitfalls of modern technology is – it’s making us physically inactive.
Why motivate your kids to play outside?
When we were growing up, we didn’t need to be motivated by our parents to go outside and play. But today, parents do need to encourage their kids to go out more and get involved in more outdoor activities.
Kids today are spending way too much time with their electronic devices. The amount of time children spend in front of a computer screen, TV screen, mobile phone, tablet and other game consoles is alarming.
“Children and teens between ages 8 and 18 spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes daily playing video games, going online and watching TV, and most have no household rules governing how much time they’re allowed to spend doing these things, according to the 2010 study, “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds,” – Care2 Healthy Living
With kids spending an average of 40 to 60 hours a week with electronic devices, they are often falling behind on school work, sports, and social interactions, and also falling short on social and cognitive developments.
“Educators, doctors and early childcare experts are beginning to see a myriad of negative effects ranging from reduced cognitive development as a result of overly structured activities that do not stimulate problem solving and creativity, to childhood obesity, reduced muscle development and balance and other physical ailments.” – SparkPeople
Children can only grow physically and mentally strong and creative when they interact with other children physically, in the real world environment.
How can I get my kids to become more physically active?
From my childhood experience, I know that we loved to play outside. We loved to move around and exhaust ourselves and have fun, because that’s the only way we knew how to have fun. But today, especially with city kids, they don’t always get enough physical exercise. So what to do? You as a parent should step up to the plate and get involved with them.
- Find a fun activity: If you have school aged kids, ask them to play any kind of physical game with you. Find something that is fun. The more fun your kids have, the more encouraged they will be to play physical games. Have fun with a beach ball or soccer ball, or have fun just running or rolling around on the grass.
- Classic board and card games: Classic board and card games like chess, checkers, monopoly, UNO, scrabble, and so on are excellent for teasing little brains and also get some physical interactions with kids. It also develops counting, grouping and coordination skills in kids, and most importantly it takes their minds off electronic devices.
- Take your bike out: Riding your bike around the neighborhood is one of the best exercises you could get. Get your kids involved and also other kids in the neighborhood to form a train and ride together. You could also allow your kids to ride back and forth from school, if you live nearby.
- Spend time in nature: Kids are curious about nature. But when they are wired to their TV, computers and smartphones, they spend less and less time outdoors enjoying nature. Arrange trips to the zoo, a botanical garden or a place of natural beauty so that they are more encouraged to see the outside world. It would be a great way to connect kids with nature.
- Go on a trip: Plan a trip once a week. It could be anywhere, near or far. Go to a beach or forest or plan a trip to the museum. Plan little picnics or sleep under the stars in a campground, It’s plenty of fun!
American children and youth today are not spending enough time outdoors, not getting enough physical exercise and not spending enough time enjoying nature. This may result in a generation of physically and mentally weak, lacking in social and mental skills, children. Get involved with your kids and encourage them to become more physically active.
Make time for exercise, have conversations with your children, plan ahead and choose a convenient time and space for your children to start exercising. Make sure you choose fun and less stressful physical activities, so that they enjoy these activities and find something to look forward to.
We’ll be back with more tips on parenting and physical fitness, so please read our blogs regularly. Until next time, stay well and enjoy some outdoor fun!
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Source: Balanced Life Team
Related articles and resources:
- 14 Ways to Encourage Kids to Play Outdoors | SparkPeople
- 10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Play Outside | Balanced Life Team
- Children and Technology: Should You Be Concerned? | Care2 Healthy Living
- Encouraging Your Child to be Physically Active – HealthyChildren.org
- Motivating Kids to Be Active
- New Research Reveals the Nature of America’s Youth | The Nature Conservancy
- Why Connect Kids and Nature – National Wildlife Federation
- 7 Exercises to Get in Shape & Have Fun | Balanced Life Team