Dear “I Have a Screener” Mama,
With advancements in technology, kids are bombarded with video games, instant streaming of favorite TV Shows and handheld entertainment by cell phones and tablets. There has been a decrease in activity levels in children and increase in the screen time that kids are exposed to. Since children have become more dependent on using technology for pleasure, it has become harder to engage them in other activities. Here are three ideas to help your kids unplug from the electronic devices and actually like it.
Get Outside! It goes without saying but children need a daily dose of physical activity outdoors. Even though daylight savings time has cut back on your daytime play hours, use what you have and play! Teach your kids a new sport and play against each other for prizes. Enjoy the fresh air and nature by taking a walk and talking about what’s going on in their young lives. Help them to find an outdoor activity that interests them like gardening or hiking. They may groan at first, but will enjoy being able to spend quality time with you and actually putting social media aside.
Designate certain times to be “Family Game Night” and put ALL technology or electronic devices aside – that means you too! You have to practice what you preach and if you’re constantly checking your Facebook or responding to texts while interacting with your children they will follow by your example. Sure, social media is great and connects us to others but is there a connection you should invest more time into than the one you have with your child? Show them how to have moderation with electronics and enjoy family time with creative ideas such as family game nights. At a loss for Family Game Night Ideas? Go old school and play board games from both of your youth or learn a new game that neither of you know. No board games around? Grab a deck of cards and play! Games are a great way to interact and engage while tuning out other things that aren’t related to the game.
Cook! It may sound like a task but getting together in the kitchen and trying new recipes or making dinner can actually be fun. Who knows, you may cultivate a new interest in your child that sparks a love of culinary arts!
At the end of the day, the time that you invest in your children will show them that turning off electronics and spending time together is the most important relationship to have. They may not show it initially, but giving them your time will motivate them to put down the ipads and happily choose family time instead.
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