According to some studies, the average kid spends at least 42 hours a week in front of a screen, and only about 40 minutes outside.
Now I am all for technology and gadgets, but even I have to admit, we have a problem here. That’s just too much time with gadgets!
So, what’s the solution? Do we take the gadgets away? Or maybe impose restrictions?
Unfortunately, being a father of three gadget geeks, I can tell you that taking the gadgets away just doesn’t work (it’s a nice way to get your kids to resent you) while imposing restrictions has only limited effectiveness. We need something more.
Add, don’t Subtract
What’s a parent to do then? Here’s a tip that worked for me: add, don’t subtract. In other words, rather than take away gadgets, introduce an alternative.
Give them something else to do that is fun and exciting, while at the same time providing multiple benefits. Something that will preferably get the kids outside.
One activity that meets the above criteria is nature walks. Nature walks are for everyone: mums, dads, kids, grandparents. They are not only free, but also provide amazing benefits for everyone, particularly the kids.
Benefits of Nature Walks
It’s impossible to list all the benefits of nature walks, but here are a few:
- It gets kids outside, away from gadgets: this is probably the most obvious benefit. One exception to this is a digital camera, because nature photography is really good for kids.
- Healthy bodies: nature walks are a great form of exercise, especially if they are a bit challenging with steep climbs.
- Healthy minds: walking itself is great for the mind: it’s been proven to improve memory, increase creativity and boost your productivity. Combined with nature, the effect is multiplied.
- Healthy souls: nature walks reduce stress, create a sense of calmness and makes you feel happy. There is something about being in nature that is just amazingly soothing. Which brings us to the next benefit…
- Allows them to use their senses: nature provides countless stimuli for all the senses, whether they are looking at the countless shades of green, listening to the beautiful songs of birds, taking in the scent of a flower or feeling the roughness of a tree’s bark.
- Strengthens family bonds: there is no substitute for spending quality time together as a family, and doing a nature walk encourages everyone to talk and basically enjoy each other’s company.
- Creates an appreciation for nature, wildlife and the environment: unlike our forefathers, we live in artificial environments, completely detached from nature, making it hard to appreciate the natural wonders around us. Nature walks brings us all up close with nature, rekindling that awe and appreciation for the world.
- Above all, it’s a deeply spiritual experience: there is no better way to reconnect with your creator than through observing His creation first hand.
Technology is great, but we need to get out as much as possible, spend sufficient time outdoors and get enough exercise.
Very few activities are as enjoyable and chock full of benefits as nature walks.
So the next chance you get, get your gang a pair of hiking shoes and try out the nature trails in your area.
Have you had any amazing experiences in nature? Please share in the comments below.