Now parents do we really need scientists to tell us that lots of screen time is bad for our kids? We are the ones living with them day in and day out. We are the ones putting up with their tantrums when we take the IPAD away. We are the ones who have that gut parenting guilt as we watch them stare mindlessly at the screen day after day. Even if scientists told us letting our kids stare at screens all day would turn them into geniuses would we really believe them?? We don’t need scientific studies to tell us that screens aren’t the best parenting move of the century. There is a reason one of the top searches for kids is “HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME.” Most of you are probably googling how much screen time is too much because you are looking for motivation and ideas to help curb what you already know is a problem.
The real question is how. How do we get these screen crazed kids to do something else? Every time we try they cry and complain, they beg and nag and basically drive us crazy so… WE GIVE IN!!!!
My dad handled it by giving me a big chore every time he saw me watching T.V. He told me if I didn’t have anything better to do than watch TV he would give me something to do. It worked in that whenever I heard him coming I shut off the TV and ran.
I know other parents who in an attempt to get their kids away from technology overschedule their kids for all sorts of extra activities. They sign them up for every sport or activity available and then parenting becomes a full-time taxi job.
I have an idea that is better than both of those options. It is called nature. It is a great solution for both us and our kids.
Nature is the Answer
Studies have shown that nature is amazing for us as humans. It increases our happiness and increases our positive outlook on life. It helps decrease depression and stress and it is literally like breathing a breath of fresh air in our lives. I have observed from my own experience with my kids that it increases imagination and their ability to invent and play. For myself, nature gives me a fresh perspective and helps me feel less stressed. Nature makes me feel calm and relaxed. If I leave my phone off or home I get a minute to breath and relax from everything crazy around me. This is not to mention the exercise we get outside that we all know is good for us. Our kids are more likely to want to cooperate because from a small age our kids love 2 things. 1. Going outside. 2. Spending time with us.
This makes spending time in nature every day a perfect solution to the problem of too much screen time. It could be as simple as a walk around the neighborhood or walking to the park. Riding bikes or kicking the soccer ball together at the park. I love sledding in the winter and swimming at the lake in the summer. Hikes all year round.
Mix Technology and Nature
I make going outside more fun for my son by including technology. One way I do this is to have him watch things about nature and then go experience them together. Wild Kratts from PBS Kids http://pbskids.org/wildkratts/ is a great show about nature. My son loves it. I do things like have him watch and learn about ocean habitats from the website and then go to the ocean to experience what he has learned. There are tons of places like PBS kids that make learning about nature fun. This teaches him a love of nature and also that learning is fun. He is rejuvenated by nature, away from screens for a short time, learning and exercising. Not to mention spending quality time together. Nature really is the answer for so many things. Thank you, Nature and I hope some of you will join me today in putting more time in your relationship with nature and less time in your relationship with screens.