In today’s digital age, it’s increasingly important to limit screen time for children, getting into the great outdoors offers a great way even during the winter months.
Many of today’s parents will attest that getting kids to venture outside when the weather is inclement can feel like pulling teeth. And who can blame them?
Gone are the days of endless TV shows and tedious reruns of Grange Hill, replaced by a veritable cornucopia of digital pleasure. Parents are now encouraged to set limits on their kids’ screen use. Why would you want to ride your bike outdoors in the rain when you can play Mario Kart online with all your pals?
However, outdoor play in winter offers numerous benefits, including physical activity, fresh air, and a deeper connection with nature. It also offers a break from their tablets, and with UK kids between the ages of 5-16 years averaging at six-and-a-half hours a day of screentime, that can be no bad thing.
Lead by Example
Children often follow their parents’ or guardians’ behaviour. If they see you bundling up and enjoying outdoor activities in winter, they are more likely to want to join in. Make family outings to parks or the seaside a regular occurrence, regardless of the season.
Provide Warm and Waterproof Gear
Invest in high-quality winter clothing, including insulated jackets, waterproof boots, gloves, and hats. When kids are dressed warmly and comfortably, they’ll be more eager to play outside rather than use screens inside. You can make it fun too! So when your daughter wants those Paw Patrol earmuffs, consider it a necessary expense towards her wellbeing and a technique to limit screen time.
A tip on how to limit screen time for children try offering small incentives or rewards for spending time outdoors in winter. For example, promise a favourite hot chocolate or a warm bowl of soup after they’ve had their share of outdoor play. Rewards can provide extra motivation.
Plan Outdoor Adventures
Plan outings to destinations that cater to winter activities. Look for nearby ice-skating rinks, dry ski-slopes, or nature trails with winter-themed scavenger hunts This is also a good opportunity to introduce kids to winter sports such as ice skating, skiing, snowboarding or ice hockey. Who knows, it could become a lifelong hobby.
Play with Friends
Encourage playdates with friends outdoors. Kids are more likely to brave the cold if they have friends to share the experience with. Collaborative games like building a camp or playing with Nerf guns can be even more enjoyable with peers.
Introduce your brood to the unique beauty of winter by exploring nature. Visit a local forest or park to observe the changes that winter brings. Look out for animal dens and admire frost-covered trees and plants.
Understand that not every winter day will be suitable for extended outdoor play. Be flexible with your expectations and allow for shorter, more frequent outings. Even a quick play in the garden or a walk around the block can make a difference.
Be Strict with Screen Time
Set reasonable limits on screen time, especially during the winter months. When kids have fewer indoor entertainment options, they are more likely to venture outside to find their own fun.
Educate about Nature
Teach children about the wonders of the natural world in winter. Share fascinating facts about animals that thrive in cold climates or the science behind snowflakes. The more they know, the more curious they may become about winter’s mysteries.
Always prioritise safety. Ensure children are dressed appropriately for outdoor play and supervise them closely as a way to offset excessive time online. Educate them about the risks of hypothermia and slipping on icy surfaces and equip them means to get help should they run into trouble.