In the age of gadgets, and technology how do you encourage active play in your children?
Discussions about screen time use and how children nowadays are very much hooked on gadgets is always a hot topic. Many people believe that screen time or gadget use is a deterrent to a child’s development. Research states that there are a lot of ill effects of too much gadget use and screen time in children.
Gadget Use in our Home
Honestly speaking, Enzo uses gadgets and also has screen time use. However, he does not have his own gadget or phone. In this way, we control his use and also guides him in using one. I am an advocate to no screen time use for kids 0 – 24 months. But admittedly, I remember letting Enzo watch Youtube when he was about 10 months old. Luckily, I started my masters in Child Development so I learned that it wasn’t really recommended.
This is because 0-24-month-old children need more interactive and sensory play. Our neurons connect better when children experience new things like texture, temperature, and interactions with people. A gadget or screen does not have these. So, the experience they get through gadget or screen does not help their brains developed as much.
People might argue that their children learn English better, or learned shapes and colors easier through the use of a gadget. Yes, it may be true, but they also lose the capacity to discover and explore on their own. Discovery and exploration happen in real active play and not in touch-and-swipe play.
What is Active Play?
Active play, according to Climbing Frames, is physical activity with regular bursts of a moderate to vigorous pace. Some examples of these are climbing, running, crawling, or jumping. It can occur indoor or outdoor, structure or unstructured settings. This mean that active play can be both intentional or unintentional. Likewise, it is recommended that children get 60 minutes each day.
Thus, it is crucial for parents to encourage their kids to have as much active play at home or outside every day. Here are some tips to encourage our children to active play:
Play-proof the house.
It is difficult to encourage active play at home if the house seem breakable. Have you noticed houses where you become so fearful of walking around because of the many displays it has? A house needs to be play-proof, where kids can explore their own active play.
Play-proofing the house is simple. You can buy puzzle mats for your flooring, foam walls, and some protective guards on your outlets so kids can explore the house without having you worried too much. If you also have toddlers and preschoolers, it would be best to just keep fragile things hidden first to prevent accidents and encourage active play. If they feel safe in your homes they would also feel the same with doing active play.
Go to parks or play areas instead of the malls.
I learned that its best to bring my child to parks, or open fields than to malls. For one, it lessens our impulsive expenses! Haha! And second, I notice how we talk about more topics when we are out. Whenever he is in active play in parks, and play areas, Enzo would come out with curious questions and new discoveries. Whenever he is able to run, jump, or climb, he also discovers more about himself. In addition, he also gains more confidence in running and jumping around. This month, we have been playing with his scooter in a park near us and I could see how his confidence increases every time.
Lessen or guide screen time use
Active play means moving around. This is exactly the opposite of gadget or screen time use. I actually get bothered seeing children sitting down for a long perion of time looking or playing at their gadgets. How could they do that with all the energy they have right? So, maybe rules can be set in using gadgets or lessen its usage. Believe me, it would do you good as well if you lessen you own screen time use. 🙂
Wear fit-to-play clothing
Comfortable clothes make active play easier. As children are able to move around better encouraging them. Have you ever tried to jump with fitted pants? It’s really difficult, right? So, if we want our children to have an active play, their clothing should also enable them to such activities. A good pair of rubber shoes and cool clothing can do the trick with our children. Also, try to not worry too much if our kids make a mess of their clothes as long as we let them play.
Teach by doing
It is important for parents to have an active play or lifestyle as well. Our children pick up from us. If they see us lazy or staying as couch potatoes they would likely do the same. Parents need to show how active play is and actions are the best encouragement our kids need. The more they see that we maintain a lifestyle of active play, the more they’ll do the same. Jog with them, run around with them, or even play sports with them. A simple play of tag or langit-lupa can help them have an active play lifestyle and even learn practical values.
Active Play in the Family
Having an active lifestyle for our children depends on us, parents. As much as they would want to have active play, if their environment is not conducive for it then it would not be possible. Having an active lifestyle is a conscious effort and decision of every member of the family.
Share with us some active plays you do with your family. Comment them below. 🙂