Switch to play instead
It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it could be as simple as not allowing or limiting screen time to get your kids to switch to active play!
It’s important for kids to enjoy a wide range of activities every day including physical active play, creative and imaginative play, hands-on fun and anything that involves spending time and interacting with other people.
The problem is, screen time often comes at the expense of these other important activities. There’s a strong link between too much screen time and poor concentration, reduced intellectual development, and increased levels of obesity.
Reducing screen-based activities to help your kids ‘switch to play’ is really important. By encouraging them to switch to play every day, you’re helping them:
- develop the good habit of being physically active
- make friends and improve social skills
- enjoy fun creative play
- maintain a healthy weight, and
- have a good start to learning.
Switch it off and encourage kids to play
This might sound like a case of ‘easier said than done’ – but there are some fun alternatives to screen time. Here are some active play ideas to get things rolling:
- Have dress ups, puzzles, crafts and building blocks ready for play at anytime
- Encourage fun, active play (indoors and outdoors) such as dancing to music
- Try different activities that your family can enjoy together
- Encourage your kids to help with household activities like packing away toys
More information and ideas are available from the below resources:
Indoor Play may have some space limitations, but there are still plenty of opportunities for active play. When you make clever use of the space you have, and think creatively about indoor active play, your kids won’t just be moving – they can be moving in ways that won’t happen as often during outdoors play.
Outdoor play gives them all the room they need for ‘gross motor’ activities like jumping, running, climbing and leaping at different speeds. Being outdoors is also a great opportunity for kids to get to know their environment and connect with nature. When outdoors, you and your kids should be sun smart. Wear long-sleeved polo shirts, knee length shorts and wide-brimmed hats. And remember to regularly apply at least a SPF30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Out and About Play
Don’t have indoor or outdoor space for your kids to play and be active? Think about the public places around you that you can enjoy when you are out and about – shopping centre indoor play equipment, indoor play centres, local parks and playgrounds, bike paths, and nature reserves to name a few. All great opportunities to be active and have fun.
Did you know?
- Kids request more soft drinks and sugary, salty or fatty snack foods when they watch a lot of TV
- Kids copy the behaviour of parents, siblings and friends
- Kids who spend a lot of time on screens (more than two hours a day) are more likely to have poorer health and educational outcomes.