In this day and age, it’s difficult to pry kids away from the computer, the television, their hand-held games or their gaming systems. It’s just a simple truth. Technology is the only “age” they have known to grow up in. It’s something that I have to be aware of, especially being the mom of 4 young boys.
My son William, who is 4 years old, knows how to turn the television on, knows how to change XBOX games, and loves to sit and play with his LeapFrog or turn on my computer to play Webkinz and Nick Jr. The question, “Is this something I should be worried about?” constantly goes through my mind.
When I was a little girl, I was never tied to the television, computer or a gaming system. I grew up with 4 kids in my family… when it was nice out, we would play outside. We would ride bikes, play basketball and hop skotch, work on our clubhouse, play on our swing set and dig in our sandbox. When it was cold out, we would play inside. Our play was usually imagination play – we would play Barbie, “house,” dolls and dress-up. My goodness, I remember spending hours and hours of playing with my sister. Just the two of us in our own little world. It was so much fun.
Today, things are so different. Or, at least, technology (which is a good thing!) has made the world of “play” different. We were given an XBOX by a friend 2 years ago. When we first got it, I worried my husband would be addicted to it. Now, I worry about my boys – specifically, William and Alexander (3). They both LOVE to play LEGO Indiana Jones and Batman. They could (and have) played for 2-3 hours at a time. During the day, when I’m working, is usually the time I will let them go on and play for an hour or so… and then when their little brothers are up, XBOX is off. But what amazes me is that William and Alexander know how to turn the games on, maneuver through the start-up and start playing.
I have to be honest… I sat down with my husband this past weekend and said, “That’s it. XBOX has a time limit and it’s time for outside play.”
I went out and bought a cooking timer. Now whenever the boys want to play, I set the timer for 30 minutes. That’s it. When it rings, XBOX is off.
I want to do more family activities with the boys. Even though they are all so young in age… I still know it’s possible to do activities together. One of our favorite things to do in the summer is walk the beach and collect shells. Last summer we had “contests” to see which boy could collect more shells. I want to continue to do fun things like that.
The boys are a little too young for bike rides and hikes through the park, but I know that doing things together – as a family – is the most important gift we could give the boys. I just want the activities to be ones where we are moving and being active. This is very, very important to me. I don’t want them to think that television watching and XBOX playing is the only thing to do with your brothers (and mom and dad).
What kinds of things do you do with your family to keep everyone together and active?
Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by Healthy Choice. Please visit http://www.spokespersonwanted.com for more information on Healthy Choice and to print a free $1 off coupon.