Summer is in full swing in our neck of the woods. The weather has been great, not to hot, not too cold. We have had trips to the beach, a trip to the water park, a trip to a state park for some camping and fishing. And yet, even with all this wonderful weather going on, I find myself having to push my kids outdoors. If I let them, I think they would sit in front of the TV or computer all day long, and luckily, for my own sanity, we have refused to buy a game system, because I am sure that would be on the list as well.
As my husband and I discussed what limits we needed to place on screen time for the summer, he made the comment that he did not remember ever being inside the house in the summer, except for meal time. I don’t have that same shared memory, but I do remember doing a lot of activities outside of my house. I do not remember a lot of time in front of the TV, except for a bowl of cereal while watching the Brady Bunch or Leave it To Beaver. But, as we discussed the fact that our kids, and ourselves should be outside more, I told my husband to look outside. We live in a subdivision with plenty of kids, yet at noon, on a summer day, we did not hear a single kid outside playing. Now later in the day, closer to evening, there were kids and families all over the place, but where were all the kids earlier?
My husband and I are lucky enough, if you consider the relative paycheck, to have our summers off with our children. I am sure that many parents are still working through the summer. But, all these kids can’t be just sitting inside the house all day, can they? Or is it a symptom of the times, that we as parents do not give our kids the freedoms that we once had to roam and explore. We have lots of activities and trips planned this summer. Our kids will be outside, a lot. But, it just surprises me how hard it is to get them out, to get them moving and doing things, together, with friends, alone, whatever.
Today, I took charge and we picked up and went to the lakeshore. Tomorrow we have a trip to the waterpark. But, does it always have to be me making plans to get the kids moving? I know with my youngest, who just turned three, it is my job to supervise and often organize, but my nine and thirteen year old should be more than able to direct their own fun. Whatever happened to kids creating their own play? Or is this just something that we like to memorialize and was never a reality?
What do you do to encourage your children to get outside and play?
Photo graciously provided by _Massimo_, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved