Winning the Video Game Battle: How to Get Your Couch Potato Kids Outside
There are days when the kids seem more than motivated to get outside and play with every toy they own (my front yard looking like a garage sale gone awry), and other days, I can’t convince them to move so I can vacuum under their feet.
Ever have those times when your kids don’t seem to move from the couch or from in front of the computer screen?
You suggest fun activities, you offer to pick up a friend, you list the benefits of getting outside and stretching their legs and still, nothing. There they sit. When it’s a cold, dreary snow-less winter, what’s a parent to do?
On a day-to-day basis, you can limit screen time the kids can enjoy, but sometimes managing that and filling in their time with other creative ideas is full-time job in itself. If they are kept busy with other activities, there is rarely time for extended couch surfing.
Before school everyone has responsibilities in our house – emptying the dishwasher, packing backpacks, practicing piano, getting out vitamins, making their own breakfasts, brushing teeth, and finding library books. This leaves little time for TV or computers before school and keeps everyone moving towards to door.
Regular weekly activities give the kids an outlet to learn a new skill and get much needed time to move after nap time or sitting at a desk all day. If your kids are too young for full-day school, plan morning outings to the library or a play date and in the afternoon plan something active like a walk.
You don’t want your kids too busy, but a paper route or dance classes a couple days a week for older kids keeps them active and away from the video game temptation with their free-time after school.
When we do have those lazy unstructured weekends void of any plans, birthday parties or trips to the mall, it’s time to play the Activities Coordinator and plan a family outing – something you know everyone will enjoy (once they finish groaning and moaning about getting up off the couch)!
Go for a walk to the park, take a hike in the nearby forest, go for a family swim at the local pool, play mini golf or head to the open gym at the community center. Older kids will enjoy a little indoor rock climbing, skating, bowling or sign up for a Zumba class.
The key is that Mom and Dad join in! The kids not only love the family time, but the whole family benefits from staying active together. The feel good laughs at Mom trying to climb a rock wall or Dad sinking a glow in the dark hole in one will be remembered. Not to mention the hugs, holding hands and family time! It makes it easier the next time you need to nudge everyone off the couch.