GET KIDS OFF SCREENS AND BACK TO PLAYING OUTDOORS
It’s probably not news to you that children are now spending more time on the various screens in their lives. While there can be some benefits to the screen time, there are certainly plenty of drawbacks as well. Spending too much time in front of the TV, computer, or personal devices leaves little time for kids to exercise their bodies, not to mention their imaginations.
With the array of media available, and their ability to multitask with various screens (watching TV while instant messaging and listening to music all at the same time), what’s the best way to get them unplugged and playing outdoors?
We have a few suggestions:
Take Baby Steps
First, don’t feel that you have to go cold turkey. Make gradual changes. Do your kids usually watch hours of TV daily or are they used to constantly having the TV on as background noise? If so, try cutting down one hour a week to start.
Unplug the Rooms
Having a TV in your kid’s room can interfere with their sleep, making them wired at night and tired during the day. It can also lead to overeating, more sedentary behavior, and an increased risk of obesity. Keep the TV and computer out of your child’s room. By putting TVs and computers in a central location, you can better monitor the time spent in front of them.
Schedule Screen Time
Once you’ve established a TV time limit, sit down with your child every week and let them figure out how they plan to use it. Just make sure that screen time doesn’t occur during meals or within an hour of bedtime. Otherwise, honor the agreement. For example, let your child watch TV freely, without interruptions from you.
Set the Example
It’s a good idea to practice what you preach and mind your own screen time. If you spend a chunk of your day surfing the net or watching TV, you can’t expect to pry your kids loose from their screens. Keep track of your screen time. Avoid channel surfing, and only turn on TV shows that you really watch, rather than channel surfing for anything to occupy you.
Encourage other activities like reading, doing puzzles or board games, playing outside, and spending time with friends or family. There are plenty of healthy activities your kids can engage in instead of watching TV, playing video games, or being on the computer. One of our most popular items is our Pop ‘N Play Game Center and it’s perfect for promoting playtime indoors and out.
The Pop ‘N Play is three fun outdoor games in one portable unit: Ladder Ball, Bag Toss and Quad Toss. The game center includes the same quick “Set’s Up in Seconds” hub system as the rest of our pop ups and comes with its own carrier that makes it easy to take along to the park or beach. With all accessories included, the Lightspeed Pop ‘N Play Game Center is perfect family fun anywhere you and your kids want to go.
However you spend your time off screen, enjoy unplugging and have fun!