Come summertime it seems that when kids come home from school for summer vacation they are glued to the TV before their back packs even hit the floor. Kids have now become so dependent on technology for entertainment I worry that kids don’t even know what the outdoors are anymore or what it’s like to have more activity than lifting a TV remote or typing on a keyboard.
According to Parentstv.org the average American child spends almost 30 hours a week watching TV and over 54% of children have their own television in their room. Another study by the National Youth Prevention Resource Center said that over 74% of kids and teens spend at least one hour a day on video games and 3 hours a day on the computer/online. These statistics are staggering when you actually think about them for a moment. The majority of a child’s day is spent in front of a screen and even more so during the summertime when kids are free for three whole months.
Now there is nothing wrong with television, computer or video games as long as they are done in moderation. So how does a parent get their child off the couch and getting some physical activity? Here are a few helpful tips to unglue your child from the screen.
First step is to lay down some ground rules for television, video games or internet time. Allow only a certain amount of hours per day for each specific one. Moderate a child’s intake of television, computer and internet as well as what they are watching and doing. One great way to get your kids to be active is to plan family outings. You could have an afternoon picnic, a hike, a bike ride through the park, a trip to a local museum or bonfire at the beach. The ideas are endless but the key is to get out of the house and have fun as a family.
One great idea is to have a pool party for you kids and their friends. This way they can have fun with their friends without technology. As a parent you should always set an example for your child. Therefore you have to be as active as you want your children to be. Even if this means a short walk after dinner together it could make all the difference. Teaching your child a new hobby is a great way to get your kids off the couch as well. You can teach them how to cook their favorite recipe, knit or sow, ride a skate board or scrapbook your favorite family photos. These ideas can be great to grow stronger bonds within a family while stimulating a child’s mind without technology.
Another great idea could be instead of buying your kid another DVD or video game get them something that will help promote activity. SensoryEdge has some great outdoor toys that keep kids busy and engaged. A couple of examples are the Plasma Car. This unconventional vehicle for kids is unlike anything you’ve seen before. The Plasma Car uses the natural forces of inertia, centrifugal force, gravity, and friction to move. All you do is just rotate the steering wheel left and right and you gain momentum. It’s almost like a segway for kids.
Hopefully with these tips can help your child put down the remote and become more active and have fun doing it.