With so much entertaining technology right at our fingertips, it can be difficult to get kids outside when they can explore whole new worlds through video games and videos. However, it doesn't have to be an impossible feat, and there are some simple ways that you can help disconnect your kids from their devices and get them out into the sunshine.
1. Only Allow a Certain Amount of Time Online
Smartphones are one of the leading forms of connectivity in the world, and as of Q2 2018, they accounted for 63% of all visits to retail websites. While (hopefully) your kids aren't using their phones to buy things on your credit cards, they can still spend hours watching videos, chatting with friends, and even playing games. Smartphones have quickly become an all-encompassing device that can be quite addicting.
To help give your kids a break from screen time, make a household rule to only allow devices to be used for a certain amount of time. This can be an hour or two a day, or only between specific hours, such as before breakfast or after dinner. However, to make the rule stick, you don't want your kids to see you constantly using your device while they're not allowed to use theirs. When installing this rule, try to practice it a bit yourself so that you can set a good example. Use a screentime checklist to help take the battle out of earning screentime.
2. Keep Your Child's Games Secure
If your child loves playing a specific video game, it can be hard for them to part with it, especially if they don't want to lose their progress. To help put their minds at ease, you can explain that their saves are secure and that they can pick up where they left off without worrying about losing out. Most gaming consoles use solid-state drives that incorporate flash memory for durability, reliability, and performance. Although kids may not understand the specifics, knowing that their games are properly saved can make them feel better when taking a break outside.
3. Make Sure the Backyard Is Worth Playing In
Lawns that are poorly maintained with a lot of weeds are something that no one wants to play in. In order to make playing outside more appealing, you first need to ensure that your lawn is up to the task. Lawns require at least an inch of water weekly to stay healthy, and without this water, they can become brown and dried out quickly. Using a sprinkler to water your lawn is both good for your grass and a great way to get kids outside. Some sprinklers are designed for kids and make playing in the water a lot more fun than others.
Another idea is to install some play equipment, such as a swing set, a trampoline, or a sandbox, depending on the age of your children, to give them some fun activities to do while outside.
4. Create a Family Garden
Creating a family garden can be another way to help get your kids outside in a fun and educational way. By growing your own fruits and vegetables, you can help teach your kids useful gardening skills and they will have fun being able to get their hands dirty. Kids can also take pride in the things they've grown once it comes time to harvest them.
If you have multiple children, you can even make it a bit of a competition to see who can grow the largest vegetable. Siblings will enjoy the competition and, in the end, everyone is a winner when it comes to having healthy homegrown fruits and veggies.
Getting Kids Outdoors
Getting your kids disconnected from their devices and outside into the sunshine doesn't have to be an impossible task. By using creative methods, you can help give your kids great activities to engage in that don't require an internet connection.
Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.