Since the turn of the millennium, childhood as we know it has changed and it certainly isn’t for the better. Back in our day, we would play outside from sun up to sundown – we simply wouldn’t consider sitting inside in front of a screen to be any idea of fun.
That is the world in which we live in, where children would much rather watch videos of other people playing games. Nope, I don’t understand it either, and I wonder how children of today will look back on their childhood when they have all grown up. They will be void of the stories that we share with one and other of the daft stuff we did.
It is for this reason why this generation of parents has to take more responsibility to ensure that our children keep active and get the exercise that they need to support a healthy lifestyle. But what can we do to get children off their devices?
Impose a Curfew
Introduce a curfew on all electronic devices in the household between certain hours, where children will have to make their own fun. This can also help at bedtime, as bright lights shining off screens disrupt sleeping patterns.
While the electronics ban is in place, encourage your children to play outside in the garden and get involved. If they are having fun while running around, they will soon forget all about their switched off devices and won’t be sat staring at the clock, counting down the seconds until they can get their fix.
Sign your children up to local sports clubs that they can attend either at the weekend or after school in the week. Not only will they learn new skills playing a game that they love, but they have the opportunity to meet new children outside of the school setting, helping to develop their social and communication skills.
Even if you don’t want to commit to a club, that doesn’t mean that you can’t invest in your own sports equipment at home. Gardens make for great makeshift pitches and courts, with football, tennis and basketball among some of the most popular games to play in the garden. Again, parents can get involved and play with their children, introducing an element of competition – and we all know how much children love to get one over on the parents!
When we were younger, we used to play playground games such as tag, stuck in the mud and hopscotch, activities that involved a lot of running and jumping around. Admittedly, such games aren’t quite as much fun on your own as they are in a group setting, so why not invite your children’s friends around?
Make sure that they do not all sit inside glued to the television, encourage them all to go outside and play together. Not only will it be good for children to socialise with their friends outside of school, but all of the other parents will no doubt be thankful for the break…and hopefully return the favour.
Who doesn’t love to dance to the music? Whether at parties or in the comfort of your living room with your favourite tunes blaring over the speaker, encourage your kids to dance like no one is watching. Make a game of it and see who can show the silliest moves, just don’t forget to record all of the festivities so as you can all have a laugh at later!
Getting your children active doesn’t have to mean spending huge amounts of money to sign them up for extra classes, when all they really need is an excuse to put their phones and tablets down and run around. With some of these simple ideas, your kids will lead a happier and healthier life.