I remember waking up in the morning when I was little and going outside to play. I would play outside all day and it was good for my soul. Whether I was trying to catch butterflies and grasshoppers or turning on the sprinklers in preparation for the slip n’ slide because we didn’t have a pool, I always found adventure outside. There is something special about being outside breathing fresh air, interacting with friends and getting lost in nature.
When I got married and had kids, there was a park near our house and I would often pack the kids up, put the littlest ones in a stroller and walk them to the park. They loved being at the park and being pushed on the swings or sliding down the slide. I cherish those memories with my kids. Nowadays, when I drive by the park, I rarely see any kids playing and it makes me a bit sad. Where are all the kids? I have an answer to that. Many of them are in their rooms on the computer or listening to music, watching TV or consumed with so much homework. Many are not even leaving their bedroom, let alone their house.
Kids need to be able to be kids. They’re growing up just as fast as technology is changing and it’s scary at times. Kids need to be able to look forward to more than just a screen and it’s our job as parents to encourage this. Whether we set limits on screen time or take more family trips outside, it starts with us. Kids should be going outside and playing in the dirt or on the grass. Kids are afraid to get dirty these days. They should experience being outside, getting their daily dose of vitamin D instead of staying indoors all day and falling into a habitual rut. Once they are in school, they’re indoors a majority of the day.
It’s time we, as parents, get back to the basics. The simple things like playing in the park with our kids or throwing a football with them. Let’s remember what it’s like to push our kids on a swing and get lost in their laughter and smiles. At the end of the day it’s the small and simple things that both you and your kids will truly remember.