Children today are digital aficionados! Gone are the days when the fortunate kids were the ones born with a silver spoon. Today, kids are born with an exposure to the enamoring world of gadgets. Having access to the latest smartphones, tablets and video games is considered “cool” and has indeed become a defining status symbol among people from all walks of life, including little kids. Though the digital age offers a great share of positives like interactive learning opportunities, options for play and bridging of geographical barriers, its shortcomings cannot be ignored either.
Kids who spend too much time using gadgets succumb to numerous physical, mental and emotional conditions like obesity, insomnia, lack of creativity, poor grades and communication gap with parents. It is important to ensure the right balance of activities for your child’s overall development. Here are five ways you can engage your kids without gadgets:
- Family Game Night – What fun is it when everyone in your family is locked up in their respective rooms, hooked onto their respective phones? Ask everyone to join in a fun board game session at least one day of the week. Not only do board games provide an excellent opportunity for family bonding, but they also help improve your child’s concentration levels, inculcate team spirit, and enhance their critical thinking capabilities. No matte r how old school the concept of board gaming is, it never loses its sheen and always promises truckloads of fun!
- A Walk In The Woods – These days kids hardly get to explore the wonders of Mother Nature! After spending an entire day confined within the four walls of their classroom, they come back home only to plonk themselves in front of their video game consoles. They don’t budge until it’s time for them to hit the bed! Give them a chance to soak in the beauty of nature by taking them on a stroll out in the woods. You can team it up with a game of I-Spy where you make a list of things (e.g., flowers, water, birds, etc.) and ask your little ones to spot them. A walk in the nature not only helps uplift your child’s and your mood but also gives him an opportunity to explore his imaginative and creative genius!
- Potluck Party – In a world where even next door neighbors keep in touch through social networking and instant messaging, a potluck party will offer a pleasant change for your little ones to connect with their friends. Plan a fun event for your kids along with their friends and family in your backyard. You can set a theme for the party and plan the décor and activities according to it (e.g., little scientists, math whiz kids, dancing divas, etc.). This activity is a great way to blend the concepts of learning and fun together!
- Art Attack – Though children are inherently creative, their talent often needs a touch of spark to thrive. Being forever hooked onto gadgets, they hardly get an opportunity to explore their creative interests. The habits that are shaped in childhood go a long way in defining your child’s future. If you hone your kids’ artistic flair from an early age, you will surely help lay a strong foundation for their future interests and maybe even their professional choices. Surround your kids with coloring sheets, craft supplies, and other means to set their creative imagination free. It is also a good idea to enroll them in drama, music or dance lessons depending upon their interests.
- Reading Sessions – The age old tradition of reading has died down greatly over the past few years owing to the growing number of options like audio books and motion pictures that have taken over. Not only has this impacted children’s thinking capabilities but also their academic scores. Make it a practice to conduct daily family reading sessions. Every day, a member of the family should read out a story and the others should share their learnings and observations from the story. This practice will offer a great opportunity for family bonding along with acting as a medium for learning and creative thinking to your child.
Maintain a strict and structured routine for your family by keeping a tab on the use of gadgets your children are allowed in a day. Make sure that your family enjoys at least one meal on the dining table, and not in front of the idiot box. Make your kids take up a sport that they should practice every day so as to ensure that they don’t turn into couch potatoes. Watch them shine as you expose them to the best of all worlds!
Aradhana is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.