The National Wildlife Federation have released a few helpful tips on getting children out and into the open more often. As parents ourselves, here in the Selwood office, we know only too well the daily struggle that is tearing children away from technology. There are phones, TV’s, computers, computer games, hand held computer games and a growing number of social media websites.
The Be Out There Movement led by the NWF aims to help parents encourage their children to put down the electronic toys and make the most of the fantastic spring weather. As parents we sort of know that being outside is better for our children but the reasons why can sometimes escape us. Here are a few you can be armed with when the little ones demand to know why they are being made to put down the Nintendo DS and venture into the garden.
Playing in the great outdoors with the help of outdoor play equipment, like climbing frames, can help children become lean and strong, it can broaden their imagination and vastly improve their attention span. In return their performance in the classroom can improve considerably and aggression levels can be reduced leading to happier, healthier and calmer children.
Life is so busy nowadays that children’s schedules are becoming overloaded and free play time is a rare occurrence. There is also a fear of sending children outside as well as a general lack of ideas and places to go with children. Some of these can easily be remedied with the use of a variety of climbing frames and other outdoor play equipment. The Be Out There document, that you can easily obtain by going to the NWF website, suggests other tactics to get the little ones outside and away from their screens.
Join them. We all know the temptation to open the back door and turf them out into the garden but joining in with their fun will encourage them to do it more regularly. This runs side by side with another of their suggestions which is set a good example. It’s easy to tut and shake our head at the amount of time our children spend in front of our screen but we are just as bad if not worse. I know I wake up to my phone, head into work to sit in from of my computer screen and spend the evening in front of the television or my laptop. Perhaps if we start to change our attitudes towards technology our children may follow suit.
Another great idea they suggest is children earning technology time through spending time outdoors. This way they are getting the correct balance of both. Electronic toys aren’t going anywhere in fact they will only become a bigger part of our lives, so it is vital that outdoor play is introduced at a young age. Perhaps try just 15 minutes every other day and build it up so that it becomes routine.
Introducing fun games and outdoor toys like climbing frames, trampolines, playhouses will all work to make your mission of getting them active and outdoors that much easier.