It seems like every time you turn on the news, there’s another story about the adverse effects of too much screen time. As a parent, it’s natural to want to limit your child’s screen time and get them outside to play more. But if your child is used to being indoors, getting them to play outside can be challenging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children should be active for at least 60 minutes each day. So here are a few tips to get your kids to enjoy playing outside more.
1. Find an activity they love.
One of the best ways to get your child to enjoy playing outside is to find an activity they love. If they’re interested in soccer, sign them up for a team or take them to the park to practice. If they like to ride bikes, go on family bike rides together. The key is to find something they’re already interested in and help them explore it further outdoors.
If your child is resistant to all activities, it might be helpful to start with shorter activities and work up to longer ones. For example, you can start with a ten-minute walk around the block and work up to an hour-long hike. Make sure to praise your child for their efforts, so they feel good about themselves and want to keep doing it.
2. Create a healthy outdoor space.
Many children resist playing outside because they don’t have a safe and fun place to do it. If your yard is full of obstacles or if there’s no place to play, it’s time to make some changes. If you have the budget for it, consider patio installation to give your child a safe place to play. This will also create a space for the whole family to enjoy.
If you don’t have the budget for a patio, you can still create a healthy outdoor space. Remove any obstacles from your yard, such as toys, bikes, and lawn chairs. Add some fun elements, such as a sandbox or a swing set. And make sure there’s plenty of space for your child to run around. Your kid’s outdoor space should be inviting and fun, so they’ll want to spend time in it.
3. Make it a social activity.
Another way to get your kids to enjoy playing outside is to make it a social activity. Invite some of their friends over for a backyard barbecue or have a picnic at the park. Kids are more likely to have fun when they’re with other people their own age. Many community parks also offer organized activities, such as sports leagues and dance classes. This can be a great way for your child to make new friends and try new things.
But if your child is shy or doesn’t have many friends, don’t worry. Spending time with family members is also a great way to get them outside. Go for a walk with your spouse or play catch with your older child. The important thing is that they’re getting fresh air and exercise. You can also try joining a local hiking or biking group. This can be a great way to meet new people and explore different trails.
4. Get involved yourself.
Children are more likely to want to play outside if they see their parents doing it too. So make a point of getting involved yourself. Play catch with them in the yard or go for a walk around the neighborhood together. Show them that you enjoy being outdoors and spending time together as a family without screens. By getting involved, you’ll set an excellent example for your kids and make it more likely that they’ll want to play outside too.
Some people find it helpful to set a goal for themselves, such as walking or running a certain number of miles each week. Children are often motivated by seeing their parents meet their goals. So make sure to track your progress and let your kids know when you reach your targets. This will encourage them to be active as well.
5. Schedule some “unplugged” time
In today’s world, it’s hard to get away from screens. But it’s important to limit your child’s screen time so they have more time to play outside. One way to do this is to schedule some “unplugged” time each day. During this time, all screens are off-limits, including TV, computers, tablets, and phones. This can be a great opportunity for your child to play outside, read a book, or do another activity they enjoy.
You can also try having screen-free days or weekends, where the whole family disconnects from technology. Avoid using screens yourself during this time so your child doesn’t feel like they’re missing out. This can be a great bonding experience for the whole family.
Try these tips if you’re looking for ways to get your kids away from screens and outside playing more. Many children resist playing outside, but you can help them find activities they enjoy with a little effort. And when you make it a family activity, everyone will benefit from the fresh air and exercise. So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!