I remember my Summer days as a kid as if they were just yesterday. My parents believed in letting us just be kids and enjoy our childhood “because kids grow up too quickly and before you know it, it’s adult problems, responsibility and stress.” I’m laughing now, but those were my mom’s exact words. Boy, was she ever right!
I cherish my Summer memories and just being a kid. Mom let us sleep in, we’d spend the day outdoors or in the pool. We would spend hours and hours in my cousins’ pool! We’d come out famished and have a hearty lunch, and then go back in the pool! We’d play Mini Olympics in the pool and then ride our bikes to the park. We rode our bikes around the neighbourhood and scrounged up our change to buy popsicles or freezies at the dépanneur!
We’d have water fights and soak each other with the hose! I remember when running through the sprinkler was fun! I may be dating myself, but I grew up in a time when hours of Slip & Slide or sliding on the Wet Banana was fun! If you’re a product of the 80s, you likely experienced the joys of squirting a drop of dish soap to your Wet Banana so you could slide really fast! We’d always end up covered in soapy bubbles and grass, but it was so much fun!
It seems like gone are the days of good ol’ fashioned fun.
I do still see imagination and creativity alive and well in my child’s generation. Little One and her friends spend a lot of time outdoors. Whether it be jumping on the trampoline or swimming, or riding their bikes or going on adventures on the farm, they’re outside and active.
This makes me happy. Why? I hear so many people talk about how their children are always on their devices. Kids these days can spend hours upon hours in front of a screen (be it their iPad, iPod, computer, cell phone, or TV).
Don’t get me wrong. I am very much in support of technological devices and using them for communication and as a learning tool. This said, everything in moderation. Little One is permitted a bit of screen time. She enjoys educational games, YouTube tutorials, and her favourite titles on Netflix. She gets to enjoy her screen time, but she also makes sure to spend time outside, being active, exploring, doing crafts, and other things that don’t involve sitting down in front of a screen.
Good ‘ol fashioned fun is still a part of childhood, but it’s sprinkled among the glitzy lights of online games and TV shows. Again, I don’t have issues with online games or TV shows. I think what I have issues with is the idea of electronics taking over the lives of families. Since I work online and in social media, I am guilty of this too. I have been known to stay up late when everyone’s asleep and binge watch Orange is the New Black or The Mindy Project. I’ve been known to check Twitter or post on Instagram like crazy. However, I have made a concentrated effort to unplug when it’s after business hours and when it’s family time.
Our devices have changed the way we interact with each other. I’ve witnessed dinners and get-togethers where people have their devices at the table and are texting others while in the presence of company. I may be a little old-fashioned, but to me that is rude and inconsiderate. Why go to a dinner party or a gathering and not talk to the people in your presence or give attention to those you are visiting with? I’ve sat at a dinner table where all members of the family were on their phones, iPads or iPods. I was a little shocked, as in our house, dinnertime is when the family has time to talk about their day and engage in conversation.
This #RediscoverNature video that Nature Valley posted in July was what inspired me to write this post.
Our relationship with nature is disappearing. That is what we found out when we talked to 3 generations and asked them one simple question: What did you like to do for fun as a kid?
Each generation was asked what they did for fun (when they were a kid). Grandparents answered with “went blueberry picking”, going fishing, growing watermelons, etc. Parents in my vintage said they gathered a bunch of kids together and played baseball, hide and seek, and built forts. Then the kids talk about how they like to text, watch videos and play video games for hours!
I agree with the sentiment that nature has always been a part of childhood. Children need that connection with nature and to experience what’s out there (instead of not leaving the house…let alone the couch)! Going for walks, biking with friends, picking raspberries, and just playing — that’s what Summer and being a kid is all about.
Tips on how to manage your kids’ screen time
I’ve asked parents how they manage their children’s screen time and here’s what they said.
@ from www.ninjamommers.com: “In our house screen time is earned. If they want 1/2 an hour they have to help out and earn their time. We write it down on a white board and then set timers on our phones while they enjoy their screen time. When the timer goes off so does the the screen. In summer they are limited to an hour max of earned screen time a day and the winter it’s two hours.”
@ from cathythinkingoutloud.com tells us: “Hubby had internet rigged to go on at 8 and turn off at 10 Times were early when they were younger. All electronics including phone given us at night and we used a timer. No video games during the week – only on weekends. That rule applied right through high school although becomes harder to inforce as they get older.”
@ from answerthetullyphone.ca says: “Today’s society is being brought up by technology, and although it has it’s downfalls, you can use it to your advantage as well if done properly. Use it as a reward for good behaviour, but make sure as well to take it away when the behavior changes or it is no longer a reward.”
@DownshiftingPRO of www.downshiftingpro.com advises: “Take the time to review Internet use and satety practices with younger and middle school ages kids. Knowing how long is “too long” is all part of the process of using today’s electronics wisely. The older they are the more time they can be on.”
How much screen time do your kids get?
Do your kids spend as much time outdoors as they do on their devices? How many hours a day or week do your kids spend on their tablets, phones or laptops? Do you have any tips for other parents on how to manage your kids’ screen time?