One of our mottos is “play is not just play”. We understand play is essential for children’s physical and mental health and development – it helps us learn. We initially looked to get a cubby for our children when they were young to ensure outside play was always available at home so it became a preferable option to them instead of the computer or television screen.
Studies are now increasingly suggesting the amount of screen time is growing, and so are the amount of screens! It’s now no longer just the computer or television that our children are so easily exposed to. With the increasing popularity of iphones and tablets and the easily accessible apps, it’s too easy for the whole family and children in particular spend too much time on these devices and less and less time socialising, playing and engaging in physical activity.
As this article states “Children are spending more than half their spare time in front of a screen after embracing smart device technology, the study has found. Tablets and smartphones have joined television as the major entertainers of children.”
We’re not saying all these cool gadgets don’t have their place, they absolutely do (and are used in our home!), but we need to first and foremost ensure our children develop a love of outdoor play so they can benefit from the physical activity, co-ordination and muscle building, mental stimulation, problem solving, confidence boosting and social interaction.
Children need to be encouraged to get out and play instead of picking up a device so it becomes the preferred and most natural option for them to play outside so it develops into a natural instinct for them to continue to move their body and exercise and be healthy into adulthood.
One of the best ways we can do this is to lead by example. Get outside with your kids. Sometimes that is just sitting on the veranda and reading a book while they play, other times it’s enjoying a “mud pie” with them in the cubby, sometimes it is running around with them!
Having the whole family getting into the routine of play and physical activity being the first and best option will have long reaching and long lasting benefits on every family members health and happiness.
Now that we are well and truly back into the school year and daily grind, it’s easy for parental guilt to sink in.We’re so busy with work, life and endless to-do lists, we’re exhausted, and playing with our kids is not always our top priority. And it shouldn’t always be,
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