Do you remember the “good old days” when you were told first thing in the morning to “go outside and play” and you played with your friends until the street lights came on? You went home when you were hungry, and when your mom yelled out the door for you to come inside. And if you didn't come home in 5 minutes she called you again, by your full name.
Sadly, that rarely happens now.
Today, kids spend way too much time inside on their phones, tablets and computers, parked in front of the TV, DS or other electronic device.
Even with the world at their fingertips it never fails, every day I hear “I'm bored” from at least one of my children. When I tell them to go outside and play I hear “It's too cold (hot, muggy, windy) to play outside.” “There's nothing to do!” even though there is a garage full of balls, bikes, scooters and games that haven't been played with in ages.
Electronic devices used as babysitters have become too much of a norm. I get it. I'm totally guilty of it. I work from home and need SOMETHING to entertain five kids while I try to get my work done. But I have to admit it has become an addiction.
I took my daughters' electronics away the other day because the house was a complete disaster, and they weren't listening to me, or doing their chores. They all cried. You would have thought I kicked a puppy or something. #MeanestMomEver
Go outside and play!
When I look back on my summer vacations as a child, I have fond memories. And they all entail being outside.
Riding my bike all over town, climbing trees, playing Kick The Can, Freeze Tag, and Hide and Seek. Swimming all day long, only leaving the pool to get something to eat and reapply sunblock.
Packing lunches and heading to the park to play on the rocket slide and the swings, getting ice pops from the ice cream truck and then going home and arranging sleepovers with my friends, camping in tents in the backyard and making s'mores.
I realize times have changed, and you can't just let your kids run around town unsupervised, but there has to be some middle ground. Give your kids some boundaries, a cell phone and tell them to “Go outside and play!”
Now that we have been in our “new” home for over a year (admittedly, we STILL have boxes to unpack but we are getting there) I have decided we need to have more structured electronics-free time. Me included. We need to start getting outside more and having fun doing it. Guess it is time to restock the old geocaching backpack, get out the sunblock, and find some adventures in our new area. Maybe we should check out the parks and see about going hiking, fishing or even camping.
Go outside and play! Before you know it your kids are going to be grown and living on their own and you won't have the opportunity to play with them any more. While “things” are fun, it's the experiences that your kids will remember. Long after that iPhone is obsolete, you kids are going to talk about that amazing camping trip you took when they were XX years old.
So this weekend we are heading out of town on an overnight trip that will include meeting up with friends, geocaching, playing at the park, and hopefully some amazing North Carolina barbeque. And if my kids are really good, we will stay outside until the streetlights come on, light a fire, and make some S'mores while we talk about the amazing adventures we had that day.
Isn't time you go outside and play, too?