Kids and tech. Tech and kids. Screen time. Devices. Inside/outside.
I can honestly say, the battle for playtime wages constantly in our house, and it’s an undisputed Battle Royale which I’m sure is playing out in most homes around New Zealand.
Truth: Our two year old Nixon tells me to put my phone in my pocket.
Therein lies the problem (no pockets! Joking lol) and also the solution.
Like every facet of life, the desire to be constantly connected and the ever present smartphone in many parents hands has set a precedent that our kids are all to eager to follow.
The buck stops with us because recent research suggests some alarming trends – over 80% of Kiwi children are spending more than two hours a day in front of a screen during the week, with even more doing the same on the weekend. This is Ethan. And potentially Nixon if we don’t make some changes.
I’ve thought about this a lot, and in our family it’s not going to be that difficult to turn the (digital) tide. It’s going to require commitment from Dave and I but not in the way one might think – no tantrums, raging, slamming of doors, no changing of wifi codes – this would work instantly, but not in the way I want to.
I’m pretty sure as parents we know that, especially with younger kids, the easiest and most desirable play option is free and easily accessible – kids just want to play with YOU, their parents.
So, I figure, (and we’re are trying to implement this in our house right now) place yourself outside, or wherever it is you want your kids to play, wait for them to notice you (they will come trust me!) and simply say YES.
‘Can I play with water?’ which let’s face it, in my house means mud manufacturing. ‘YES! Go for it, mud washes off after all’.
‘Can I go eeling?‘. This also means mud, often more mud than after a rugby game, but, ‘HECK YES! GO forth and catch-and-release those eels!’ ::::::shivers::::
‘Can you jump on the tramp with me?‘. Potential loss of bladder control in this scenario, but again, washing clothes hasn’t killed me so far, ‘YES! Mummy loves jumping on the tramp, I can peek over all of the neighbours fences!’.
You get the picture? Go and they will follow, do and they will emulate. Take your little sponges outside and watch them soak up what you’re doing. Get a small bucket and bowl and start collecting twigs, flowers, petals and just sit on the grass at home or in a park and make patterns, take some string and make little teepees out of sticks for their mini-character toys………the possibilities are endless and the benefits are undisputed.
Persil has partnered with the AUT Human Potential Centre to understand the State of Play in New Zealand. It’s their view that unless we let Kiwi kids indulge in unstructured free play we deprive them of the chance to really develop their independence, creativity and a good sense of judgment when it comes to taking risks. This may well mean that we erode the qualities that we Kiwis have become known for; ingenuity, resilience and inventiveness.
Getting back to Real Play need not be a massive family transition. Don’t overthink it, just get down to your kids level and get your hands dirty.
The nationwide State of Play Survey asked over 2,000 Kiwi parents about their perceptions of children’s independent movement, and how they feel about a less structured and more traditional approach to play. Our friends at Persil feel passionate about helping kiwis make positive changes in their kids daily lives so have put together some fab tips and tricks to help us all incorporate more Real Play into our daily lives. Find out more here > visit http://persil.co.nz/
To help keep up with the laundry, Persil are giving readers of The Best Nest a chance to win an awesome prize pack. Comment below and tell us your #Reaplay tips to get in the draw to win a MASSIVE Persil prize pack consisting of: 10 x 1L bottles of Persil liquid and 10 x 1KG boxes of Persil top loader powder! Competition closes 10th Jan 2016.