While the digital world provides smart technology, phones, and interesting apps, it can serve as a major distraction when you’re not careful. There are tons of adults who struggle with procrastination as they scroll through their phones for hours at a time.
If you don’t want this to become a habit for your children, you have to be willing to teach them to see the world beyond their screens. Consider the following practical ways you can help them step away from the screen and broaden their horizons.
Hiking and Camping
Hiking and camping are great ways to make lovely memories. When it comes to camping, the more people you have, the more fun it can be. Assign different people with rotational assignments such as food, clean-up and starting the campfire. Bring everyone in a camper trailer to experience a bit of luxury while you’re on a camping trip, or go for a large tent with sleeping pads to buffer against the ground. If you create the right atmosphere, while far away from civilization, your child may experience a moment where they actually forget about their phones.
If your child knows nothing about the world or its landmarks, it’ll be difficult for them to appreciate the view in person. This is why it’s a great idea to start with a home curriculum before you travel. Whether you have an upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. or Paris, you can start introducing landmarks a few weeks before the trip. Find coloring books that feature all of the monuments in DC or the Eiffel Tower. Purchase puzzles of some of the iconic landmarks in the city you’re visiting. If you’re going to Paris, take one afternoon to make croissants or macarons with your children. These details will make a difference in their experience.
Zoos and Aquariums
There’s something very exciting and intriguing about seeing animals in person. However, it can be a little scary for parents who don’t want to lose their children. If you need to keep small children in a stroller, that will help you maintain a level of security. If you have older children, start to drill them days before about the importance of staying together. Make a day trip to your local zoo or aquarium to soak it all of the exhibits and features.
Reading is the ultimate way to expand the mind and see the world. Encourage your child to pick up a new book to read every single week. A ton of brain growth happens between birth to age 5 (85% by age 3), so nurture that growth by reading aloud to your children.
These tips are excellent for encouraging creativity and they’re also mentally-stimulating in a way that technology can’t compete with. Once your child gets into the habit of unplugging from the television, they’re more likely to enjoy time away with their friends, their family and themselves. Though the shift might provide a bit of push-back at first, keep at it. The benefits are worth the effort.
Looking for more ideas for screen-free fun and free printables? Check out this: Our screen-free fun with free printables to help you get on track.
By Meghan Belnap