Do you remember the days spent outdoors as a kid? You’d come home from school, have a quick snack then instantly run outside to play with friends where you’d stay until you were called in for dinner. Where there used to be a real emphasis and culture built around being outside and being active with others, today kids seem to be retreating to the couch more and more.
As the mobilityguardian.com site points out, whether they are indoors watching TV or playing the latest video game, the days of playing outside for hours on end seem to be fading.Of course that outdoor activity is wonderful for a child’s mental and physical well-being, can help them to maintain a healthy body weight, is great for their motor skills, encourages their imagination, allows them to socialize with others, and it’s just plain fun. So how can you as a parent encourage them to be more active outdoors? Here are four tips you can use.
First things first, it’s wise to limit the screen time. Screen time can mean video games, movies, television, the computer, or any other mobile device. While there is nothing wrong with screen time, it should be within reason. You can decide what that time limit per day or week is but be sure you are clear with the kids about the new rule. You can then keep a schedule or tally of their screen time to ensure it’s being followed.
It’s pretty hard to teach kids a valuable life lesson if you don’t follow it yourself. What this means is that if you want kids to see the value in being outdoors and being active, then you need to lead by example.Go out there and play a game of catch with the kids, play basketball, go for a bike ride, take the dog for a walk as a family, and appreciate the outdoors and an active lifestyle together.
Here’s a sneakier way to get kids outdoors and being active. Why not give them a job or responsibility that can only be done outdoors? For example put them in charge of watering all the flower plants, helping you to pick weeds once a week, raking the lawn, etc. When they have a job then it doesn’t feel like exercise, but it will encourage them to get outdoors.
Of course, having a selection of outdoor toys and activities will certainly help to encourage them to get outdoors. Things such as badminton, a soccer ball and net, sidewalk chalk, bikes and scooters, a swing set, bean bag toss, and anything else you think the kids may enjoy will provide them with hours’ worth of fun.
Encouraging kids to get outdoors and be active is a healthy habit that is ideal to teach from a very young age. It will help them to stay fit and healthy as they get older and turn into adults.