Our kids are constantly being tempted by screens and finding ways to get them outside can be difficult. Of course, there are some positives to screens. They can be great for watching educational shows or playing games. Screen time is also good for teaching them things like internet safety which will be good preparation for when they are older and screens will simply be a fact of life.
If you are a very busy parent, screens can also act as a way to keep your children happy and quiet while you get on with other things. This is perfectly normal, but you should be wary of allowing the screen to get in the way of your otherwise healthy and happy relationship.
Too much screen time can be a bad thing. Blue light at night will disrupt your child’s sleeping patterns and too much time sat around isn’t going to do anything for their health and fitness either! There are a variety of opinions on the subject that are outlined in this interesting article, but the main thing to think about is establishing a balance.
Try to make some family time together outside to reestablish a balance between screens and the outdoors. There are all sorts of family-friendly activities you could try to strengthen your relationships and get your daily dose of vitamin D!
Build a Tree House
Every child dreams of a tree house, a den that they can call their very own, and if you have a suitable tree, it is ideal for getting them out of the house. Encourage your children to come up with a design and help you to find a suitable house for your tree. This is a great way to get them to use their creative skills but will have huge rewards too.
A tree house is also a good way to give your kids a space they can get messy in. As so many modern houses are open plan, it can be difficult to find a space where kids can get covered in paint and glue making artworks. A treehouse is ideal – any mess won’t need clearing up right away and it won’t matter if they get paint on the walls and floors either.
Image Credit:Max Pixel
Go on a Long Walk
There is nothing like a long walk for getting the blood moving and filling your lungs with some fresh air. If you have a local park or a nice nature route nearby, these are perfect for seeing nature at it’s finest. You could even take a bag to fill with leaves and other bits and pieces you find to make a collage later.
A family walk is also a great time to really get to know each other and chat without any other distractions. So often, when we try to talk to each other there are other things that divide our attention whereas on a long walk, you have plenty of time to really listen.
Play a Team Game
If you have a large family, playing a team game like baseball is another great way to spend time together and get your fitness up. Of course, smaller families can play too, just invite some friends over to make up the numbers. A team game combined with a barbeque or a buffet is a brilliant way to entertain without a party lasting all night.
Games are brilliant for bonding together and having a laugh. You don’t need to be competitive about it, but you could just play until you are tired. Of course, if you have young children, games are a great way to teach them about winning and losing. Equally, though, a bat and ball game is really easy to fix in their favour if you want to ensure you have a good afternoon!
Have a Picnic
If there is bright sunshine about, making up a hamper and going for a picnic is a brilliant way to get outdoors. Involve the children in making up sandwiches and try making some dips together too. You could even forage for wild food, just be careful to know exactly what you’re eating.
Preparing food together is always a great idea. Get your kids to talk about what their favourite foods are and include them in all the preparation. Fussy eaters in particular will benefit from making different foods as it will encourage them to try new things without too much pressure. Plus, sharing a spread of picnic food is ideal for a relaxed environment where you can pick and choose what you prefer.
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Get a Swing
Children are far more likely to want to play outdoors when there are toys outdoors to play with! A child-friendly yard is ideal for tempting them outside whether they are on their own or playing with friends. A swing is ideal and you can either string one from the branch of a strong tree or else install one that comes with a frame.
These traditional toys can also be complemented by more modern equipment like a trampoline or a climbing frame. Creating the ultimate outdoor playground in your backyard is a brilliant idea because it will give your children plenty to do outside and you can keep an eye on them as they play. Beware though, if your garden is too good you’ll never persuade them back in again!
While screens do have their place in modern lives and it is important that children are able to learn how to use them safely, like anything, screen time must be kept in moderation. You might be leaning on screen time to get some time for yourself but with a little bit of preparation, there’s no reason that your kids can’t play outside and have just as much fun.
Making time for your family when your children are young will make all the difference to your growing relationships. Modern stresses and strains can quickly cloud your judgement and we are all guilty of taking our families for granted. Putting the weekend aside for you all to spend time together is a great idea and making sure that time is high quality is vital for your relationships. Ditch the screens and get outside!