Guest Post by Aby League.
With the advent of the digital age, it is not uncommon for you and your children to be engaged for endless hours each day in various online activities. Both you and your kids may feel incomplete if a day passes and you didn’t get your hands on a tablet, iPad, game console or laptop. According to Tamekia Reece, in her article in Everyday Health, a recent study reveals “53% of people felt upset and 40% of people felt lonely if they could not get online, even for just brief moments”.
Despite the growing trends in digital usage, the question still remains: Does being “hyped on technology” actually help your family or not? You have to take a closer look to determine if playing online games is making your kid too busy–or less interested–to spend quality time with you. You have to examine whether your child’s preference for digital play is impacting your child’s health and quality of life.
Monitor Your Family’s Media Usage
Failure to keep close tabs on your family’s online or media activities is no joke. According to Reece, a 2010 study conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation Survey reveals that kids spend more than seven hours each day doing various online activities. Furthermore, another study reveals 25% of 3-year olds and half the population of 5-year olds use online mediums daily, in one way or another. As the usage of various online mediums rises, the consequential health risks increase simultaneously, as well.
As a parent, it might be wise to keep a family media usage diary. If you start to notice an increase in the frequency and duration of your family’s online usage, you may want to consider spending more time with your kids and participating in alternative activities with them instead. Motivate your kids to get physically active and fit by playing outdoor games or kicking balls in the playground. Give them the opportunity to appreciate moving out and about and having face to face interactions with you or other kids. Face to face interactions decrease isolation and promote positive social skills.
Avoid Bedroom Snacking
Bedroom snacking lures you and your kids into using online gadgets for longer hours. When you are snacking in your bedroom, you will naturally want to do something while eating. Your computer, tablet or iPad is the most common thing you will usually turn to when lounging in your bedroom.
Instead of snacking in your room, plan a “picnic time” with your kids incorporating unique playground equipment. You can stimulate imaginative play by having your kids and their playmates picnic at an outdoor fort. Watch your kids have fun playing make-believe and role playing. Get your family’s creative juices going, while promoting a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
Pique the interest of your kids by encouraging them to go on a camping trip with you. Entice your kids to look forward to the trip by telling them stories that build an appreciation for nature. Have a great time basking in the beautiful natural scenery and wildlife while bonding as a family.
Choose a camping spot near a commercial playground. Watch your kids get busy playing with kids they have just met. You will feel fulfilled and satisfied about making your kids happy while having this rare opportunity to spend hands-on time with them without worrying about technology getting in the way.
Promote Nature Walks
Going on nature walks helps to lure your children away from the temptation of spending hours in front of a computer all day. Additionally, you and your kids help reduce your carbon footprint by reducing energy usage at home. Inspire your kids to be good ambassadors of Mother Earth. Motivate your kids to go on nature walks to get the exercise their bodies need, and subsequently, have the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity about the wonders of nature.
Bike Rides Build Physical Endurance
A nature themed project is not complete without an exciting activity on hand. Going on a bike ride with your kids, while picking fruit, is a great way to enjoy nature and promote a healthy lifestyle. Bike rides strengthen your kids’ physical endurance more than many other types of exercise. Expect your family to build stronger leg muscles from taking long bike rides. Plus, snacking on healthy fruit–such as fresh-picked strawberries–gives you and your kids essential nutrients while engaging in a strenuous activity.
Keep Hands Busy With Handicrafts
Since green sustainability is becoming mainstream, it is common to see others valuing recycled stuff more than they ever did a couple of years ago. Contribute positively to mother earth by organizing recycled handicraft-making sessions with your kids. There are so many ways to “turn trash into treasures” that children will enjoy. Turn a “string of soda cans” into make-believe train that your kids will enjoy playing with for hours in your backyard. Turn a large appliance cartons into a fort or a clubhouse. From food containers to bottle tops, help your kids discover that “junk’ can play an important role in their lives if they simply make an effort and use their imaginations.
Take Frequent Visits To The Gym
Going to the family-centered gym or recreation center with your kids helps your family enjoy a fun and fit lifestyle. Have fun doing yoga with your kids. Alternatively, you may want to do aerobics with your kids to upbeat music to keep them on the go for hours. Remember to cool down with refreshing drinks every now and then to keep their bodies hydrated.
Enjoy A Family Dance Party
Dancing feeds the creativity drive for both kids and adults. Don’t be shy about letting loose with your kids by dancing away to the all-time favorite popular tunes, in your backyard, in your living room, or at your kids’ school. Get your kids out of their shell and encourage them to do their moves without holding back.
Organize A Running Club
Running helps to strengthen the heart. Kill two birds with one stone by organizing a fundraising activity together with a running club. You can put the funds you raise to good use by donating to clubs and organizations working for an healthier environment.
Organize A Family Field Day
Planning and participating in a “family olympic competitions” or field day provides both parents and kids with bountiful benefits. According to PlaygroundEquipment.com, recreation should not be seen as a waste of time as this too is a good way for kids to learn and get fit at the same time. Have fun engaging in friendly competitions with your kids. Let them feel that you have complete faith in their ability to be the best in everything they do. Run races in your neighborhood, swim a few laps in a pool or hold a cartwheel competition in your backyard. The sky is the limit!
A Happier And Healthier Family Everyday
Is it time to unplug your home? Not giving in and simply going along with the digital usage trends does not mean that you and your family will have a boring life. They can still have fun doing what they love without constantly depending on iPads and the internet to make their lives complete. Plus, being less dependent on a technology driven life provides opportunities for the family to avoid obesity, impaired vision, lack of mobility and many other issues. Health problems have increased as the digital age continues to boom. It’s time for you to make the effort to help yourself and your family avoid these health problems before it’s too late.
About Aby League
Aby League is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She is an innovator and technology enthusiast. She has been writing about health, psychology, home improvement and technology. You can see more of her articles on Elite Daily. To know her more, follow her on Twitter.