My how times have changed! Growing up in the 80s we played outside in the cubby house, rode our bikes everywhere, lived on our swing set and would only watch tv at 4pm when play school was on! Now there are kids television shows on from dusk till dawn, they have a variety of remotes from an xbox, Wii or play station at their fingertips, which if allowed would take up most of their day so very little time spent playing outside in the glorious sunshine!
I’m the first to admit that we own most of the things mentioned above, but I’ve also made strict rules on when they can be used and how long for! Prior to these school holidays the only thing my children really enjoyed doing was watching tv r playing the iPad. We’ve had an Xbox for a couple of years now and recently was given a Wii, but the kids hardly showed any interest in them so there wasn’t any need for strict rules to be in place! Well things have changed! Bailey has discovered the Xbox!!!!
Our usual at home play routine would be drawing/craft, lego, construction type stuff in the mornings and then in the afternoon would be the trampoline, swing set, cubby house or going for a bike or scooter ride! They watch tv mostly first thing when they wake up and when Mia is having her day sleep. We go out a far bit in the mornings whether it’s to the beach, theme parks or playgrounds and if we swim at mum and dad’s, it’s usually in the afternoons! The Xbox was hardly spoken about, in fact it would go days sometimes without being played! The kids like to play the iPad and occasionally will have a turn on the laptop! They both have iPods and enjoy listening to music or playing games on them too!
Now I know what you’re thinking…we’re the ones who buy these things for them! Correct! We live in a world now that is dominated by technology and I think we are hindering our children if we don’t expose them to it. BUT I am also a firm believer that our kids should be exposed to all things great and small! We may allow our children to have the technology in our home, but that certainly doesn’t prevent our children from playing outside in the fresh air and sunlight….I make sure this happens!
Before now it didn’t really bother me too much as I was happy that our children spent plenty of time away from technology, but since Bailey has become obsessed with the Xbox, I see what it can do to their little minds! He’s gone from this happy boy who usually asks me a week in advance where we’re going and what we’re doing, to declining a visit to nanny and poppy’s for a swim (which he never does)! He gets frustrsted when something doesn’t go right on the game and if he’s really engrossed in what he’s doing and he’s asked to have a shower, the monster rares his ugly head!! I don’t think so son…it’s time mean mumma steps in!
This has happened just in a short space of time. As soon as I noticed these things happening I put rules in place. Now, the Xbox can only be played for 1 hour at a time morning and afternoon. Never before breakfast or after dinner and once back to school never before school or never before homework is done and never after his shower! I guess the saying goes you have to be cruel to be kind! When Bailey was told his time was up this afternoon, he carried on “I just need to finish this section mum!” I gave him a warning and he still carried on, so he is banned from playing the Xbox tomorrow. This parenting gig was never meant to be easy! But I’m not here to make sure my children want to be best friends with me, as parents it’s our job to create an environment for our children to hopefully become well rounded, respectful and responsible human beings!
I’m the first to admit I’d be lost without my iPhone and iPad, but I’m still and always will be an outdoors kinda girl and I know how to have a balance life between both! And as they say children can become products of their parents! If we spent all day in front of technology, then what right have we got to say to our children “go outside and play you’ve been sitting in front of that for long enough!” We also need to set an example!
I guess like anything it’s about being able to find a balance, which is what we had going so nicely up until this week…surely it’s a phase and we’ll jump over this hurdle like all the other ones that have been put in our path! It’s already pretty scary how advanced technology is today compared to even when I went to high school…gosh I remember green monitors and typewriters lol! But to be successful with our jobs and so forth in the future, it is important to expose our children to technology but to also still expose them to the wonderful world of free play! Because no technology will ever be able to replace dress ups, make believe mummies and daddies and of course making home made mud pies or your regular game of backyard footy or cricket!