If you are a generation X mum like myself, you too are probably appalled by the obsession our kids have with gadgets these days. While, admittedly, there are some great things to pick up along the way (various learning apps that aid critical thinking development), all this gadget drama is just so…. worryingly addictive, unnecessarily popularized and unhealthy.
Why would a kid spend hours staring at a screen when they can go outside and run themselves to sleep! Maybe it’s just me, but I like my kids where I can see and educate them myself – outdoors.
If you share my values and find outdoor activities way healthier than any app there is, I am giving you some ideas to get your kids interested in the real life you’ve got to offer. Just remember – kids being kids, they’ll always want what their friends have so you’ll have a tough battle ahead of you. But, don’t let that shake you…
I have a feeling you’ll nail this! Here we go.
Be their inspiration
The reason most kids are stuck on their gadgets is the absence of human interactivity that should be a normal, healthy part of every kid’s development. Overwhelmed with work, parents often go for the easier way out, turn the TV or PC on, and let the kids entertain themselves. Don’t make the same mistake – be the parent who shows interest, spends time with their kids and actually knows what’s happening in their children’s lives.
Be their role model and inspire them to want to hang around with you. Sure, you’ll never be as interesting as that kid around the block who can stick his whole fist in his mouth (duh!), but you’ll be a cool parent they can learn from. You can nurture the bond between yourself and the kids through a series of family activities like movie nights, picnics, cooking together, reading stories, charades, barbecuing, organizing reading marathons… whatever it is that you know your kids would love.
There’s no kid in this world who doesn’t love a little exploring (or a lot) and going camping with them is the perfect opportunity to let them channel their inner Sherlock Holmes. Rent a cabin or tent in the woods and stay the weekend. Then, spend days exploring the mysterious “magic woods”.
Make up stories as you go and get your kids interested in what comes next. Inspire them to get engaged in the story telling and come up with secret names for each and every one of you. Later, when you gather around the fire, refer to the “people from the woods” in the third person and create a universe of your own. If this doesn’t get them excited, nothing will! Only, when you are roaming the woods, carry a flashlight – you never know.
My kids went crazy over this game and we made going to the “magic woods” a monthly outing. Even I personally loved it (it’s true what they say – we never really grow up).
Go swimming together
As long as there’s some screaming, jumping and splashing involved, the kids will be in! With the hot summer at our fingertips, make it a family weekend thing and go together. Bring some sandwiches, let them have a large ice-cream (a little bribery goes a long way), you may even invite some of their best friends to join – it will be a blast! Just, please don’t forget to put some sunscreen on your kids prior to leaving for your swimming/sunbathing adventure.
Otherwise, when their backs and faces get burned, they’ll hate both you and the whole thing. And that’s a no-no!
Homemade sandwiches; Healthy snacks by Belvita; Bottle of water by Vittoria food & beverage; Snapple peach tea found on Amazon; Sunscreen care cream by Clarins Australia; Hello Kitty girly hat found on Amazon; Pokemon boy cap found on Ebay; Backpack found on Ebay.
If you’ve noticed a creative streak in your kids, encourage it. You don’t have to sign them up for painting lessons straight away, but you can always join the ride and do some painting yourself. Organize a family tournament (of course the kids will win) with different themes for assignment. Whoever paints the best pic, gets a present (it’s up to you think of the present, but always honor it). Watercolors, chalk, pencil, graffiti… whatever you feel will get your kids interested.
Well, these tricks were what made my kids drop their tablets and finally engage in the real life out. I hope it’ll work for you, too!