There’s nothing wrong with kids wanting to play video games and chat online with friends, but let’s teach them the benefits of play.
It’s funny how times change. When you were a kid, you likely spent as much time as possible outside. You spent your summers getting into all kinds of hi jinx with your friends, as you explored the neighborhood and still got back in time for dinner. The kids of today are a little different. They prefer to spend their days online, playing video games and speaking to their friends via chat boxes. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it still risks a generation of children missing out on the benefits of outdoor play.
Exercise and Activity
If you’re someone who is focused on family health – as we all should be – then there is no better way to ‘trick’ your kids into exercising and doing activities than by getting them outside to play. Whether they ride their bike to their friend’s house or run around the park, playing on the bars and climbing walls, they are doing some sort of activity. They don’t realize it, but this is building strength, keeping them git, and getting their heart pumping. All of this contributes to an active lifestyle that makes up for those evenings sitting in front of the TV.
Kids need to socialize and learn how interacting with others can benefit them in life. While they can get this over game chats, it’s not the same, especially when you factor in the anonymity of it all. By seeing friends and other kids outside of school and on the playground, they will get better at making conversation, collaborating, and generally being a good person. It also helps them see how people react to certain words and actions. They might not realize how much words can hurt, and seeing the result in person can change their outlook.
Most kids have some spark of creativity hidden away inside. Outdoor play with friends gives them the chance to embrace this creativity. They can play games that encourage them to come up with stories, and they can also use their surroundings to imagine themselves in a different world. Perhaps the jungle gym becomes an enemy fortress. Maybe the prefabricated rubber mat playground tiles are actually a lake of lava they need to find another way around. The possibilities, like their imaginations, are endless.
There is nothing better than fresh air for helping your kids feel good about themselves, you don’t want them to be cooped up inside, especially if they hole away in their room playing games or browsing the internet. Simply getting them outside to play can reduce mental health struggles and help them connect with nature. This might lead to other passions that they follow later in life, and gives them numerous opportunities to explore.
There’s no such thing as playing the right way. Instead, there needs to be a balance. As with everything in life, too much of something can be harmful. Therefore, while you shouldn’t push your kids outside when they don’t want to go, you must show them there’s more to life than playing on the Xbox or PlayStation, and there’s a whole world for them to discover.