With summer break quickly approaching, families are starting to plan what to do with all the extra time our children have each week. For a lot of kids, that extra time is going toward phones, computers, and video games. While making sure our children are comfortable using technology for their futures is important, there are also several benefits to reducing “screen time” including improved sleep, school performance, overall health, energy and attitudes.
Here are some engaging things to do instead of spending the summer on a screen:
Reading as a family is one of the best ways to develop relationships. It not only helps children develop bonds with their parents, but also boosts self-esteem and interpersonal communication skills. Research shows that children who are read to frequently are ahead of their peers in terms of literacy, vocabulary, and attention spans.
Obviously physical activity for children helps them build and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children and adolescents get at least an hour of physical activity each day. Encouraging your child to participate in physical activities that strengthen their muscles, bones, and cardiovascular systems will improve their wellbeing throughout the entire year.
Committing time to produce artistic and creative work boosts children’s ability to solve problems and analyze situations. Working in different art mediums also improves fine motor skills as well as apply math and science skills. Additionally, one of the most important benefits of creative and artistic engagement for young children is that it gives them the freedom to experiment, make mistakes, and try new ways of thinking, all while increasing their self-confidence.
Board games and card games provide learning opportunities while also satisfying children’s competitive natures. Playing games with specific rules and boundaries allows children to learn about limits in a safe environment. Games also help children learn about winning, losing, and playing fair in constructive and guided ways.
We intentionally designed our martial arts programs to reduce the amount of screen time for our students, in order to get their minds and bodies engaged throughout the day. By allowing for time for educational, creative, and physical activities, our students are able to spend their school breaks in ways that improve their wellbeing. This sets them up for not only a productive and enjoyable summer, but also a successful future all year-round!
In a world where everyone—kids included—are being inundated with the call of instant gratification, we must teach them that delayed gratification is a more satisfying, character-building gratification.
Why a father of two and medical school student recently began his journey to black belt.