Our world is full of hustle and bustle. There are screens dominating our eye lines at work, at home, on the bus, in shopping centres, and even when we’re about to go to sleep. It’s only when you start thinking about what you used to do as a kid that you realise your eight-year-old playing Skylanders for four hours in one day shouldn’t be the norm.
Where are the cricket games in the street, the running to the neighbours’ houses and getting as many snacks as possible (that your parents won’t let you have), and the general muddy disarray of clothes and limbs?
Looking back to our own childhoods – even if you’re part of Generation Y – the comparison can leave us in despair. BUT! You have some power in this case (#parenting) so here are some different ways to get back to basics with the kids.
Do some gardening
One of the easiest ways to get kids interested in nature is by giving them the task of making something grow. Whether you live on a large property with huge paddocks, you have a small backyard, or you only have a window sill in an apartment, growing plants and doing some gardening engages kids with nature and brings them back to basics. Not only can you explain the process of how plants grow and what food they can grow themselves, you can also benefit from having some cleaner air in and around the house.
But, bringing it back to the kids, there’s something refreshing and contagious about how excited they become when a new flower blooms or a carrot is ready to be picked. Thinking into their future, being able to garden is a fantastic skill to have. Plus, it’ll keep them away from the TV for a little while!
Go for regular bush walks
Our rugged land is full of wonderful areas to explore with the kids (even if you live in the city), so get them out and learning about the bush and its native flora and fauna on a bushwalk. Chances are they’ve learnt something about it at school already and will know more than you! Autumn and Spring are the best times to explore as the weather is cooler and you’re less likely to run into snakes. We suggest you skip that adventure…
Bond with animals
If all else fails, you can always count on animals to come to the rescue. There’s a special bond between animals and children that just can’t be explained. It might be mutual curiosity. It might be something more. There’s a new video showing animals protecting kids going viral every week, and it seems that kids and animals have a mutually beneficial relationship.
There are heaps of different ways to engage your kids with animals. If possible, get a pet – there’s a reason they call dogs man’s best friend. If you’re unable to do that, then kids can bond with animals in many other ways. Think about heading to the zoo, booking in an animal encounter, going to a rainforest and experiencing the bird calls, or volunteering for the local animal rescue centre. The kids will love it!
If none of the above suit your family’s style, head out and find a park, go swimming at the beach or a lake or dam, regularly invite the neighbours over to play some sport, or just go for a walk. Making these events regular is the key to getting the kids to appreciate the time away from screens. You don’t want to make it seem like too much of a novelty.
There are so many ways to get the kids back to basics. Not all is lost! When it comes down to it, the kids just like spending time with the family so indulge them with some time together outside. Skylanders can wait.