We all could use a little less screen time and more time outside! We have all heard about the wonderful physical and mental health benefits of spending more time outdoors -- increased mood, energy, concentration, and improved overall health, to name a few! So, why aren’t we spending more time outside?
Modern day life with all of its devices and demands make it easy to slip into a daily routine of less time outside and more time on screens. Here are a few simple, fun and creative ideas to promote spending time outdoors for you and your family:
1. Make it quality family time! Incorporate family time with outdoor time.
Typically watch TV as a family? Instead, go for a walk, pack a picnic, go apple picking, start a garden, build a tree house, go to a playground, eat meals outside. Run through the sprinkler when it’s hot. Jump in leaves. Build a snowman. Have a snowball fight. Have a fire and make s’mores. Pop a tent, camp out and star gaze! It’s all about incorporating family time into outdoor time.
2. Make it a part of your family’s daily routine.
Just like brushing your teeth or doing homework, outside time can be a part of your family’s daily routine. For example, before dinner have your family spend at least 20 minutes outside playing. How about going outside 15 minutes before the bus comes in the morning to play a catch? Or, make a daily chore like walking the dog a fun family adventure!
3. Just like an allowance, screen time can be earned.
Some kids just simply don’t like going outside! What to do when your child or teen is resistant stepping away from the screen? Have family members earn screen time by going outside and doing their homework or by doing some yard work. However, if you are finding that your child or adolescent is using screen time as a way to avoid social situations or is withdrawing from the family it may be time to consult a professional. A Compass Therapist, Social Group, or Coping Coach understands these challenges and are here to help!
4. Games, games, games -- whenever possible, make it fun!
Play a family game of baseball or kickball. Play basketball in the driveway. Play hide and go seek or Manhunt for teens. There are endless ways to incorporate game time into outdoor time.
Most of us spend quite a few hours a day on screens. Between work, email, homework, social media, Netflixs, YouTube, texting and video games, it can add up fast! Some of our screen time can’t be avoided but there is always room for improvement. Small changes can make a big difference - strive for balance and start small by increasing your outside time and decreasing your screen time by 20 minutes a day.