Have you ever wondered how the childhood you had, differs from the one that your kids have these days?
Weren’t summer holidays all about making new friends and exploring newer places with friends?
Remember all those outdoor activities and games we used to play? Gully-danda, marbles, sevenstones and may more!
Most of them were played in groups and all required us to be out of homes, under the sun, playing happily without having to worry about taking in vitamin D orally or scared of getting skin infections.
I think, we as kids, had the luxury of remaining outdoors more than our kids have these days.
Summer holidays now seem to be packed with different coaching classes, summer camps, gadgets and a time to prepare our children for the next academic year.
All of us are getting so comfortable with this new lifestyle that, we almost forget the need for outdoor activities for our children.
The basic need for getting out of homes has become less – mainly due to the various comforts children get at home and the discomforts, especially sudden rise in disease occurrence and pollution and so on.
A study says that children are slowly losing their cognitive skills and overall physical strength because of reduced outdoor activities.
It is increasingly becoming important for parents to understand the importance of outdoor activities, especially young children because that is the phase when most of their bones are developing and hence require more vitamin D.
Here are some things you can do to get children away from those mesmerising gadgets to let them venture outside their cocoons:
Lead By Example
Get out of your homes yourself first. I don’t remember any day of my childhood in which we as a family, were sitting inside the home. It would either be spent playing Pallankuzhi or hopscotch. Oh yes! Even the moms and aunts would be playing with us.
These days most moms are working (either in an office or from home) and this makes it difficult for them to spend quality play time with their kids.
Just take some time out, be it in the evening or week end to play with your kids.
I personally prefer a game of football or badminton- it’s a two in one practice for me to do my daily exercise as well as play with my sons.
Allocate Time and Space
Most homes these days have very less space for children to play. If you can get your back yard customised into children activity area it would be the best. Otherwise use the community area that is available.
You need to actually allocate time to get your children out to play. If you have other kids playing at a particular time, let your children join them.
Evenings are the best times for children to play outdoors safely. The only concern is the swarming mosquitoes. You could use the Goodknight Fabric Roll-On which protects your child from mosquitoes for up to 8 hours with just 4 dots that are to be applied on clothes. This non-staining outdoor mosquito repellent is made using 100% natural ingredients and is also paediatrician certified. It is available in two fragrances – Bubblegum and Citrus.
Walk More Than Driving
When you plan to take your children to a nearby place, make sure to get there by walking to that place. Children get all the attention when you walk the talk – and hence they will be more than satisfied to get along with you even to a messy marketplace.
Give Room For Their Treasures
You simply cannot nudge a dormant kiddo with a gadget in hand to get out of his cocoon. You need to make the process itself interesting.
I have created some boards, boxes and tables where the boys can place their treasures. I know you are quizzical on WHAT KIND OF TREASURES?
Well, pebbles, stones, leaves, sand – these are some kind of treasures for my boys.
I don’t question them on what importance it has to them. Since they can showcase these treasures to their friends, they make sure to get out of the home to collect them.
Let Them Explore
Kids love to explore. It is their general tendency and they love to look, feel and experience new things and places.
Just make sure to keep them safe from the environmental effects such as sunburns, mosquito bites or cold.
Give them enough space to search and learn on their own. (Let them not end up searching on Google!)
This will make them use their ability better and improve overall growth including motor skills.
One generation earlier, parents were worried that kids are always out of home and now we, are worried that the children do not venture the outdoors. I seriously think a major lifestyle shift is needed where we can actively participate in bringing back the lost treasure of real childhood.