Easier said than done in this era of childhood, to make a child leave the screen and go out to play with real things and real friends. We all might have some idea on how beneficial & important it is to send a child to play outside, especially if you are a parent and thus mostly would have spent your time sweating out in the open playground. How to make our children see those benefits or at least try to inculcate that interest in them is a challenge for all of us.
The below article might not be a full proof method but it opens up many options to try and see what works for your child for him to move away from the Screen Windows to outside of Real Windows.
How to motivate children to play more Outdoor vs Indoor
1. Play a video game with your child.
Boom- you think I have gone crazy, well not.
Show your child that you are one of them and open to all ideas and thus he will also respond accordingly.
There’s a better chance your child will listen to your suggestions when you’ve shown a willingness to understand the appeal of these games.
Let your child teach you one of their favourite video games and give it a try. You may find the game instructive, challenging, or deplorable.
2. For one week, keep a log of the time
Collect data in next 1 week, how much time did your child spend on these games? Is it 10% of their time, or 50%? It’s likely that your child hasn’t considered this, and may be surprised at the results.
Show them a visual representation of how much of their free time is going to this activity. Once you have some actual data, any argument over the amount of time spent on gaming is eliminated, and you can see if there is a problem, and to what degree.
3. Show the child what might be missed out.
Now the next step is to show your child What can be achieved in the same amount of time spent gaming. For example, in 25% of that time you could learn to play a musical instrument or learn an art. In 1/2 that time you could improve in a sport, learn how to cook some simple food, how to sew, grow a garden, learn a new language…. As a parent, you should be prepared to contribute to support such activities or to get started in an activity program. The goal of this exercise is to show the child what activities he or she may be missing.
4. Arrange for outdoor activities or even physically active indoor activities for your children and their friends.
However old practices, need to help children on these activities. To make it more appealing, look for ways to include your children’s friends. Because group activities always make it more interesting for physically activities. Check the newspapers, your local community center, or school guidance counsellors for local programs and resources for youth sports and activity programs. For example, your community may offer a cycling club, sports programs, hikes, camp trips, or other fun outdoor activities.
5. Let your child select a long term project of his choice.
If you can build upon something your child is passionate about, but not able to reach it, you may be able to help them realize their passion. Most children don’t think of long-term projects, but you can show them how planning and budgeting their time and money can bring big rewards. It's a step by step process, where you as a parent need to be more patient & tolerant.
Your child might want to build a tree house, restore an old machine (and learn a lot in the process), design own dress, create a garden, or take on some other big challenge. Of course, as a parent your participation is required to help finance the project and help see it to completion.
And when the project is done, there will be a new activity to enjoy.
6. Acknowledge your child’s efforts in offline pursuits.
Video games receive instant gratification & satisfaction. Other skills we have been talking about, such as playing music, building a tree house, etc will require time, effort and self-discipline before they become truly enjoyable. You can help your children find satisfaction in offline pursuits by acknowledging their efforts and progress along the way. This is a very necessary step to keep them interested.
Research performed by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has found that the way parents offer approval affects the way children perform and the way they feel about themselves.
Ninety percent of the kids who were praised for their hard work, however, were eager to take on the demanding new exercise vs those who were praised to be smart as they feared being exposed of their short comings.
How do you motivate your children to play more outdoor vs indoor? Share your story and write to us at [email protected]