If you’re a parent you’ve likely wondered if your kids are spending too much time in front of screens: TVs, computers, and let’s not forget about all those convenient hand-held devices. Though technology creates a lot of ease in our lives, there’s also a downside if the scales tip in favour of screen time more often than not.
Did you know that teenagers today spend less than half the time their parents spent getting active outdoors? Research suggests that screen time is greatly reducing the time children spend being active and reading. It also encourages unhealthy eating habits and can affect regular sleep patterns.
According to Active Healthy Kids Canada and Participaction, children are getting over 7 hours of screen time per day. In fact, children are spending more time with screens than any other activity besides sleeping!
The good news is that unplugging is actually easier than it may sound (though you can likely expect some groans and eye-rolling from the teenagers) and perhaps even more importantly it is something that the entire family can participate in and benefit from. We’re not talking about locking up the hand-held devices or hauling the TV into the garage but rather creating a healthy balance.
A family that plays together stays together.
Creating time to connect and enjoy each other’s company helps to create a strong family dynamic and provides opportunities for the entire family to learn and expand their skills and knowledge. Even just 15 minutes a day spent reading, walking through your neighbourhood or telling silly jokes can have a positive impact. Take it a step further with some of these fun suggestions from ABC Life Literacy Canada.
- Pretend your family is anywhere in the world by pointing to a location on a world map. Go to your local library and find out more about that country. What language do they speak, what is the weather, what sports do they play?
Where’s that Shape?
- Have a shapes scavenger hunt by taking turns to find shapes indoors and outdoors. Then together make each shape with your body – kids and adults work together.
- Playing a board game is a fun way to learn together as a family.
- Spice up mealtime and have kids create a menu by drawing food items or using grocery store flyers – kids can take orders too!
And if you’re looking for activities that will get you out into our community, check out Interior Savings Unplug and Play Family Literacy Week coming to the Central Okanagan and Kamloops Jan 21 – 28. It’s a week of awareness and fun activities promoting the balance of technology use with family time, creative pursuits, recreation, and connection to nature.
For more details on Interior Savings Unplug and Play in Kamloops and the Central Okanagan, check out the full schedule of events here.