Children twenty or thirty years ago were very different than children today. Children years ago would come home from school, do their homework, and head outside. Whether it was going out to ride their bikes, play basketball with friends, or go to the park, children were not sitting indoors in front of the television. When it came time for dinner, these children would head home to eat and then go back outside when the street lights came on.
With all of the technology that is available to children today, the last thing that they want to do is go play outside. Many children sit in front of their television watching it or playing video games for hours. Others sit in front of the computer or their tablets and they surf the web for hours on end. Even cell phones have many children glued to the couch. Between texting and playing games on their phones, many parents struggle to get their children outside to play.
Encouraging your child to get out and be active is very important. Obesity is a huge problem in children today. The less activities a child participates in, the more likely they are to have a weight problem. With our children spending their days in front of their favorite form of technology, they are not burning any calories. It is up to the parents to get their children out of the house and getting some much needed exercise.
The first thing that a parent should do is set time limits for whatever technology your child is obsessed with. If it is video games, tell your child that they can play for an hour before dinner and an hour after dinner. Doing this will open up several hours where your child will have nothing to do but go play outside. If your child is an internet junkie, set time limits for web surfing as well. If your child needs the computer to do homework, stay close and make sure that it is actually homework that they are doing. If your child is a television addict, set time limits for that as well. When a child has limits, he will need to find something else to fill their time.
It is a good idea for your child to have things that they can do when they go outside. Keep the garage stocked with balls and bikes. Anything that will keep them busy outside is important. If there is a park in your neighborhood, either encourage your child to go or, if they are too young, pack them in the car and take them yourself.
It is also to set a good example. If your child sees you on the computer or in front of the television constantly, they will think it is okay to do the same. If you have set limits on your child’s use of electronics and technology and you have not cut back on your use, you are being a hypocrite. If you are not using your computer for work, give yourself limits as well. Our children learn by example.
It is not very difficult to get your child outside and being active. You just need to stick to your guns. Eventually they will see that there is life beyond their games and computers.