Doctors, educators, and experts in childcare believe modern changing lifestyles have a negative effect on the health and wellbeing of children. Children and youth spend a lot of time indoors using electronic equipment like computers, playstations, mobile phones, watching their favorite programs on TV, or playing with the numerous toys and gadgets available in the stores today.
The rest of their time is spent between school and other extracurricular activities and parents are being made aware of the harmful effects of this sort of lifestyle ranging from reduced ability to recognize and solve problems, to lack of creativity. The “couch potato lifestyle” leads to increased cases of child obesity and not to mention reduced muscle development and other physical conditions in children.
Parents need to encourage their children to go outdoors and play and organizations such as “The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights” state that play is a right of every child and is essential for their mental, physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.
Once we recognize this fact, the challenge is how to find free time from our hurried lifestyles and device ways to encourage our children to play outdoors. Parents and adults can also benefit from outdoor activity for we all need to take time to relax and exercise.
Here’s a list of 9 tips to encourage your kids to play more outdoors.
Tip #1: Does your house have a backyard? If so, use this space as a play area for the children. You can install swing sets, slides, climbing walls with rope and ladders to keep them occupied.
Tip #2: In case you have a garden, encourage your little ones to do the gardening with you and even assign days for them to water the plants, clear the yard and other similar chores.
Tip #3: Give them simple tools to work with in the garden and encourage them to collect insects, small animals, and display them in a box.
Tip #4: Help your kids to build a tree or bird house and encourage them to feed the birds.
Tip #5: Take your children to the park and other areas where they can play and explore nature.
Tip #6: If you have to go to the mall or run an errand, encourage walking instead of driving or other means of transport.
Tip #7: Encourage your children to participate in sports and other group activities.
Tip #8: Give them books of trees, plants, insects, and animals, and take them out on excursions to photograph and later compare and identify what they see in the books.
Tip #9: Take your kids swimming, camping or fishing on weekends or vacations and have a change from every day routine.
As you encourage your children to play outdoors, you should be patient and not make it appear like you want them outdoors just to get rid of them. That’s why you should join them whenever possible and in that way establish a desire in them to spend more time outdoors. Spending time outdoors is healthy and will make you and your kids appreciate nature while having fun bonding.