I received the picture at the bottom of this post from Olivia the other day along with a text telling me Reuben had spent a good part of the morning in the laundry basket ‘fishing’. At one point Olivia noticed he’d taken his shirt off. When she asked him why he’d done that, he said (with all the sincerity in the world), “Because I didn’t want to get it wet.”
I know…he’s adorable, isn’t he! But you know my sharing these stories is always about more than how great my kids and grandkids are, so here’s the deal…
Reuben’s mom is doing him a HUGE favor by allowing and requiring him to use his imagination and to play…you remember that, don’t you—actually using your mind, your body, and ‘stuff’ in order to entertain yourself. FYI: this is the opposite of relying on a television, a computer screen, or even a phone for entertainment.
Letting (or making) your kids play is essential for their physical, emotional, and psychological development. Studies show that kids who spend too much time in front of a screen of any kind have over 75% more psychological problems than kids who don’t. Kids who have too much screen time are also…
*Less social—they don’t know how to interact with real people
*Not as academically successful as kids who don’t
*Considerably more prone to be overweight and out of shape
*Have little or no interest in extra-curricular activities, sports, or hobbies
*Have fewer friends
When I look at this list I think, how sad! When I look at kids living this list, I think shame on their parents!
At this point I’m sure you’re asking “How much is too much (time)?” The answer: no more than two hours a day combined screen time for kids ages 3 and up (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics). Kids under age 3 should have half that amount of time or less.
Our kids deserve better. They deserve to know what it feels like to play in a mud puddle, splash around in the rain, catch lightening bugs, play hide-n-seek, bake cookies from scratch, play board games, play dress-up, play kickball with the kids in the neighborhood, ride bikes, and yes, take your laundry basket out on a fishing excursion.
So now that you’re done reading, get up and go play with your kids.
Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be copied or used without permission from the author.