Do your children spend as much time outside as you did when you were their age? Probably not. The culture has changed, so it’s understandable. Not only are there more screens than just the television to keep your kids busy indoors, there are also more safety concerns and more of an emphasis on planned, structured activities than there used to be. However, if you’re like many parents, you may be starting to worry that your children are missing out on something by spending so much time inside. The following are some tips for encouraging your children to get out into the fresh air.
Appeal To Interests They Already Have
If your child has learned the habit of playing indoors or sticking with structured activities over the years, they might be resistant to efforts to get them out of the house without a specific plan. Show them that they can pursue some of their existing interests outdoors as well as indoors. Does your child love taking pictures on their phone or tablet? Suggest that instead of selfies, they take pictures of birds, trees, or flowers. Show them how to use different types of cameras, not just the one on their smartphone. Your child may discover an interest in birdwatching or nature photography this way.
If your child likes playing building games, like Minecraft, they may enjoy actually building something. Help them make blueprints and find materials to build a birdhouse – or even a tree house! A child who enjoys drawing or painting indoors may also appreciate gathering materials outdoors for a nature-based craft project. Appealing to your child’s existing interests can help overcome any resistance they might have to abandoning their usual routine for some outdoor play.
Team Up With Other Parents
Your child needs other kids to explore and play with, but chances are that you’re not the only one whose kids spend too much time inside. It’s not just screens that are keeping kids indoors – often, it’s also parental concern about strangers and various dangers that children might run into if they’re allowed to roam too far.
The truth is, the statistics say that kids are probably safer outside today than they were when you were a kid. Crime is down, and so are pedestrian, bicyclist, and car accident deaths. But if you’re worried, you can team up with other parents in your neighborhood to keep your kids safe while letting them have some freedom. Make an agreement to watch out for each other’s kids, and alert each other if you see each other’s kids misbehaving or ignoring agreed upon boundaries. The aim should be to make sure that your children have some loose supervision, but no hovering adults. This way, your child has a safety net, and all the parents in the immediate area can feel more comfortable sending their children out for some unstructured play, which gives your child more playmates. It’s a win-win!
Make sure that you also set limits on your children’s screen time. It’s easy for kids to get absorbed in games or social media and forget to do other things, even if they’d like to. A parental control app that sets limits on your kids’ screen time can help remind them to take some time to enjoy the outdoors — and it can make your life easier! Learn more now!