If you’re like many other parents, you’re afraid that your child is spending too much time indoors staring at a screen and not enough time getting fresh air and exercise. In fact, two-thirds of parents worry that their child spends too much time on electronic devices. It seems that those worries are not far fetched.
The CDC found that only one-quarter of children ages six to 15 get moderate exercise for 60 minutes each day, five days a week. According to the Washington Post, children between the ages eight and 18 spend at least 6.5 hours every day with electronics, which equals 45 hours a week. Finally, more than 24% of children ages two to 16 have asked to stay inside so they can watch their favorite TV show.
Now that the warmer weather is here and summer is just around the corner, it’s a great time to get your kids away from their electronics and into the great outdoors. How are you going to do that? Here are some ideas to start with.
Go to the beach
Who doesn’t love the beach? It’s said that 95% of all Americans live within an hour’s drive of a navigable body of water. You and your kids can run around in the sand, swim in the water, and even build sand castles. It’s incredibly fun, and your kids will be getting the outdoor time they need. You also can hop on a boat and take a cruise around the water to enjoy the breeze and catch some fish. Boating is a fun activity for people of all ages — University of Washington football fans have been tailgating on boats since the 1920s, but you can certainly make this a family-friendly activity as well.
Get some ice cream
After a meal, your kids will likely ask for ice cream in the summertime. It’s one of America’s favorite treats. In fact, 90% of American households indulge in this sweet, frozen treat. If you live close enough to an ice cream shop, walk there with your kids. It will give them a great chance to exercise and get some motivation too. If you have to drive, make sure they play on a playground nearby while they eat their ice cream. It’s unlikely that your kids will say no to ice cream and a playground.
Do outside chores with them
There’s nothing wrong with putting your kids to work during the summer time. Have them help you tend the garden, rake up leaves, or take the dog for a walk. If they are reluctant, make a game out of it. See who can rake up the leaves the fastest or who can make the dog do more tricks. A little friendly competition will get your kids motivated to get outside.
Find a new nature trail
Finally, you can explore new places with your kids this summer. Find a nature trail nearby that you’ve never been to and go exploring. Your kids will love to see new, natural sights, and you can teach them new things along the way. Your family can also get a great workout when you’re hiking the trails.
Summer is one of the best times of the year to get outside and play. If your kids would rather stay inside and stare at their screens, you have to do your best to kick that habit. Remember that the more fun the outdoor activity is, the more likely your kids will want to engage.
Great article. There has been research connecting ADD in kids with how little they play outside.