Forefront families by Sally Burgess;Recapturing 'Real' Play;

Sally Burgess, Forefront Families LLC


As I look at Christmas gift ideas being advertised this year I cannot help but become increasingly concerned. There are so many different kinds of technological 'toys' being offered that I fear kids are becoming even less likely to participate in physical play than ever before.

How can we get our kids up and outdoors, enjoying both physical activity and face-to-face communication with others? How can we create a balance between passive or restful play and hard-out exercise like running, riding, climbing and hiking?

Here are some suggestions:


Evaluate. Observe your children's activities in general. How much time do they spend:


     a) Sitting watching TV or movies?

     b) Playing games on the Internet or Ipad?

     c) Talking on the phone to friends?

     d) Reading books or researching information on the Internet?

     e) Doing physical exercise - e.g playing outdoor sports?

     f) Spending time outside in imaginative play, alone or with friends?

     g) Talking face-to-face with friends and family?

Take a good look at what your kids are asking for, for Christmas. Is there a natural


balance between tech and physical games or toys?


Here are some suggested actions you can take:


  1. Work out a weekly schedule that is divided into sedentary as well as active play.


     e.g. Create time for family games and energetic outdoor activities. Nominate time


     for quiet play or reading.


  1. Spend time finding out what your kids' interests really are and how you can help


     them make their dreams come true.


  1. Encourage healthy friendships where kids benefit from each others' interaction and


     not be negatively influenced.


  1. Allow time for passive TV/Movie watching and technological games.


  1. Make sure your kids get fewer rather than greater numbers of tech. games and



My concern is that technology (Ipads, computer games, tweets, instagrams, texting, TV etc) is creating way too much passivity and that kids are losing the art of communicating face-to-face. They are also losing their imaginative and inventive play, in favor of sitting and being entertained. As parents we need to guard our children’s physical health and imagination. We need to be careful, too, that we are not getting caught up in the same inactive culture. We literally have to plan physical activity and spend time with our kids so that they create and retain vivid memories of their childhood. By doing so, we are preserving a healthy active lifestyle that, hopefully, they will pass on to their children.

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