Tammy A.S. Kohl is President of Resource Associates Corporation. For over 30 years, RAC has specialized in helping businesses improve customer loyalty and eliminate employee disengagement. Learn how at www.resourceassociatescorp.comor contact RAC directly at 800.799.6227.
Go Outside and Play!
How many times did you hear “Go outside and play!” from the lips of your parents as you were growing up? How many times have you said it yourself to your own kids? It’s very likely you’ve said it more than your parents did, and it should not be a surprise to you. The culture in which we live has changed the meaning of the word “play,” and we’ve unconsciously helped our children embrace this change. We’ve purchased electronic gadget after electronic gadget to keep ourselves connected to the latest trends, and think about it … how many of those gadgets can you use outside on a bright, sunlit day?
Our toddlers have books with built-in electronic readers. Our 8-year-olds are DVR’ing their favorite television shows. (Who are we kidding … 8-year-olds are quicker and more proficient at programming the DVR than we are!) Our teens have been playing video games on one gadget or another for the last 5-7 years! Is it any wonder why playing outdoors is a foreign concept to our children?
Many parents today live over-scheduled lives filled with running from event to activity to squeeze every bit out of every day, and all the while are connected to others through their smart phones, laptops, and tablets. Life doesn’t just happen within the boundaries of a computer screen. Life happens out of doors under the brightest of sunshine as well as the darkest of thunderstorms.
When I think back to my fondest childhood memories the sights and smells of the outdoors come rushing back. I recall the secret fort my friends and I built in “Jungletown” (a.k.a. – the copse of trees one of our neighbors owned), hours spent riding bikes in alleys, rainy days hunkered down under the equipment at the local playground, and playing flashlight tag until the street lights came on
Spend some time acquainting or re-acquainting your youngsters with the out of doors. Talk about those fond memories you possess. Teach them your jump rope rhymes. Shoot some hoops in the driveway. Pack a picnic lunch and explore a park together. Throw down a blanket in the yard and watch the stars. Help them build an outdoor experience they can cherish!
If you have teenagers and get “the look” when you suggest an outdoor activity, try this technique. Suggest it nicely twice, and if they haven’t bought into it by then head for the nearest fire extinguisher and fire away at their feet! It won’t hurt anything and will send the message that they are in for some fun!