Computers and other gadgets have become pivotal in the lives of most people under 50. Technology is infused into the everyday lives of your children in ways most of us never imagined. Whatever happened to playing outside?
Most technology involves a lot of sitting still, which doesn't use our children's natural abundance of energy. However, if you've ever tried to get your kids to unplug from these devices, you know what a chore that can be!
You've most likely set limits on how long your kids can fiddle with their gadgets. However, they'll probably need help finding things to do when they're not allowed to plug in. Why not play outside as a family?
Outdoor play provides exposure to broad spectrum daylight which positively influences sleep and is one of my fundamentals if you want your child to sleep well at night.
Take advantage of these benefits of old-fashioned fun outdoors:
1. Demonstrate the importance of outdoor activities. If your kids see you take the time to stop what you're doing inside and go outside to do something completely different, they'll assume it must be the thing to do. Play outdoors consistently with them from an early age, and they'll adopt your active lifestyle.
2. Offer quality time. Spending time outside with your kids provides wonderful opportunities to see what they like to do. You can also offer them activities from your own life. Teach them how to play freeze tag and all those other "old-fashioned" games you used to play outdoors.
3. Get physical. When outside, most people are moving around physically. Riding bikes, climbing a tree, walking, throwing around the football, or playing kick ball are healthy outdoor activities. You'll get a good workout and so will your kids.
4. Develop your children's coordination. Whether you're tossing a ball, walking around the block, or riding bikes, your child's dexterity and coordination will grow when you regularly play outdoors together.
5. Grow their passions. Being consistently active outdoors with your kids introduces them to various activities. They just may find some that bring joy and fascination to their lives.
* There's no reason this has to mean sports or competitive games if your kids aren't into those. You may have a budding naturopath on your hands, or a marine biologist. But if you didn't go outside together as a family, you'd never know, and neither would they
6. Unwind. There's no better way to teach your children how to discharge stress than to go outside and connect with nature every day. You'll feel better, calmer and more relaxed, and so will your kids.
7. Make memories and traditions. Being outside together is a family activity you can practice all your lives. Whether your kids are 5, 15 or 25 years old, if they grew up playing outdoors with you, you've got an easy family tradition you can do anywhere.
8. Outdoor play provides exposure to broad spectrum daylight which positively influences sleep and is one of my fundamentals if you want your child to sleep well at night. Even having a picnic breakfast in the garden can be so much fun and get your daily dose of vitamin D.
Although letting your kids play endlessly with their computers or video games may seem easier than a battle of the wills (which honestly I understand), physical activity is still crucial, especially for growing bodies. Make an effort to squeeze outdoor time into the schedule, even for 30 minutes a day. You'll feel better, connect more, and discover all kinds of wonderful things about yourselves and each other!