Video games and Netflix – it’s what all the kids enjoy these days. They love to play Xbox and to binge-watch their favorite animated series for hours at a time. Though it’s easy for us and may seem fun to them the behavior can have negative side effects that may persist into adulthood.
How much screen time is too much, and how do you break your child’s habit of sitting in front of the tube all day? Those aren’t easy questions to answer, especially if your child has been able to watch TV and to play video games freely without much parental intervention.
What can you do?
Setting hourly guidelines and rules may help to reduce your children’s screen time. Introducing them to other activities that they will enjoy can also help break the habit and get them interested in things other than playing games and streaming videos.
Why It’s Important for Kids to Play Outdoors
Children shouldn’t stay cooped up indoors all day long. It’s not good for them. They won’t experience the sun on their skin, the fresh air in their lungs or all the cool things that come with playing outdoors, such as finding new bugs to investigate, or trees to climb.
Playing outdoors comes with many different benefits for children of all ages, such as:
- Enhancing sleep
- Boosting their social skills
- Improving their overall fitness
- Reducing symptoms of attention deficit disorder
Cutting back on your children’s screen time and getting them outside offers even more benefits than you might realize.
7 Reasons Why You Should Reduce Your Kids’ Screen Time
They’ll have a better attention span.
Children have a difficult time keeping their attention on something without bringing TV into the mix. Researchers have conducted studies and found a link between video games and attention problems. Children who spend several hours per day watching TV or playing video games are more likely to develop attention problems as they mature, and the effects could last into their adult lives. Researchers suggest limiting your children to only two hours of video games or TV per day to prevent attention disorders.
They get to use their imaginations.
You only need to listen to a child if you want to hear the most incredible tales. They have vivid imaginations and can pretend that carpet is the ocean and a couch is a boat. Have you ever seen a child play with a simple cardboard box? It doesn’t take much to spark their playful ideas.
Playing outdoors expands the horizons of their imaginations even more. Sure kids can play indoors and use their imagination, but they can expand their mind with the enormity of the outdoors. It presents them with many different adventures and areas in which to use their imagination.
They can discover other things.
We’ve all heard it before ‘I’m bored!’, ‘There’s nothing to do.’ That’s the time to kick them outside for a while. Don’t ask! Just get it ready and they will come… Most local leisure centers have loads of opportunities to learn new sports. Ride bikes around the block or roller blade in your neighborhood get your kids involved in activities that engage them physically as well as mentally and give them great opportunities to interact with other kids
Playing in the dirt is also good for kids’ immune systems. With the majority of citizens living in cities and suburbs, as opposed to farms, kids are less exposed to microbes and other healthy bacteria.
These are the memories your kids will remember. They’re also the memories that you’ll remember as they remind you of the great job you’ve done!
They’ll get fresh air and sunlight.
Yes, sun exposure – can increase the risk of sunburns, but our bodies need sun. And never underestimate just getting outside, even on a cold day. We need exposure fresh air and sunlight in every season to make vitamin D, a vitamin that plays a crucial role in many body processes, from bone development to our immune system.
Vitamin D benefits your children in many ways, from reducing depression to maintaining healthy bones. So, go on and boot your children outside for a few hours. They can breathe fresh air for a while and soak up some vitamin D.
They can improve their vision.
Nearsightedness is a common problem not only in adults but also in kids. The evidence suggests that the increase in nearsightedness has to do with screen time and spending too much time indoors. In fact, spending more time indoors during early childhood can increase the likelihood of nearsightedness in children.
So, it stands to reason that spending more time outdoors will slow the progression. Children who play outside always focus on close-up and far-away objects, improving their vision and strengthening the muscles in their eyes.
They won’t develop lazy habits.
If you allow your children to play video games all day long, what motivation will they have to do anything else? Excess screen time makes kids lazy and less motivated to play sports or to socialize with other children outside. In their minds, why go outside when they have everything that they need indoors: a TV, a video-game console and air conditioning.
Kids who spend more time playing video games than playing outdoors with other children are more likely to struggle socially as they mature. They will feel less inclined to do chores or their homework. Taking away the games and the TV for a while will give them some time to step away and to appreciate time doing other things with family and friends.
They’re less likely to become obese.
There’s a link between screen time and obesity, according to studies on screen media exposure and obesity in children. It’s a cause-and-effect relationship as children spend time watching more TV and consuming high-calorie foods and beverages such as potato chips and soft drinks.
Reducing the screen time and the low-nutrient foods can help prevent obesity in your children. Combine it with more time playing outdoors, and your kids will be happier, healthier and fitter as they grow and develop.
Sonny’s Place: Entertainment for All Ages
Kids need a place where they can experience new things and interact with other children. Sonny’s Place provides fun and entertainment for kids of all ages. We have batting cages, go-karts, rock walls, miniature golf and more.
If you’re looking for a place where your kids can get away from the TV and just be kids again, Sonny’s Place is the place to be. Whether you need somewhere to host a birthday party or to bring your children for a day outdoors, reach out to us for more information about how to make the most of your visit to Sonny’s.