This post is sponsored by OMO for Outdoor Play
So I’ve been thinking a bit about something I have noticed lately!! I tend to be a bit of an overthinker and analyse things way too much and having 3 kids has only amplified this.
I have found the last 11 years since having my first child very interesting as technology has moved so quickly and I have literally witnessed the difference it has made raising our 3 children.
When my first daughter was born I don’t think iPads even existed and it wasn’t until she was at least 5 or 6 that we had our first tablet in the house. Our youngest daughter would have been 2 or 3 at the time. When we bought it, it was for my husband for work mostly and not something that the kids had much to do with.
Fast forward to when our son was born 4 years ago and the girls had started using the iPads more often with games and streaming TV shows.
IPads and tablets have not really been a major issue in our house with our girls who are aged 11 and 8 as they were old enough to respond to the boundaries we put on them and their brains were more developed at an older age when they started using them.
Mr 4 has been an entirely different story. Since birth he has been around smart phones and iPads allowing access to games and streaming. Though ideally, I would have loved to have not given him the option to even know these devices could be used this way but with 2 older sisters plus having 3 children to manage it was impossible.
For the last 12 months my husband and I have really begun to see a big impact technology has had on our 4 year old son. We are noticing that the more time he has playing games, which seem very harmless on a tablet, the more he seems unable to play happily outside for extended periods of time.
We can literally give him 30 minutes on a tablet 3 times a week and that is enough to send him into a crazy obsession with wanting the tablet to play games at all times resulting in him being disinterested in playing outside and is generally frustrated and unhappy.
This isn’t a blog post about demonising technology as all of my kids watch TV and use our tablets on a daily basis but what I am learning is what they are watching and doing with technology makes a big difference in how it impacts them.
My 4 year old son will get bored after 45 minutes of watching TV and will naturally start playing but put him on a game on an iPad and he is hooked and never wants to get off and it turns him into a technology screaming monster.
When I think about the girls and think about my own childhood it is filled with such fond memories of climbing trees and playing with the next door neighbours, flying kites and riding bikes, not sitting inside alone on a device.
Funnily enough there is quite a bit of research coming out giving some interesting insights into what kids might be missing out on if they are not getting outside to play.
Did you know that when children play and learn outdoors they learn more? Playing outside results in your kids being calmer, confident and more open to learning in general. Their social skills improve along with their imagination, creativity, teamwork, concentration, behaviour and most of all their general love of learning.
Once you become aware of this it’s scary to know 2 in 3 spend under an hour playing outside every day and that less than 1 in 6 primary school children learn outdoors each day.
This is why it is so great that organisations such as Nature Play exist, to ensure that parents have the right information when it comes to their kids and play, and that we’re setting our kids up to be the best they can be, as lifelong learners.
On Thursday the 1st of November it’s Outdoor Classroom Day!! Nature Play with the support of OMO have joined forces to inspire children, teachers and parents to get outside and be reminded about how good outdoor play and learning really is.
In reality, outdoor play shouldn’t be encouraged just one day a year it should be something Australian schools encourage as a part of EVERYDAY, and this is a way to make that happen!
So, if you are passionate about your child’s learning then show your support for outdoor play and learning by asking your child’s school in person to sign up to Outdoor Classroom Day. The goal is to get 1 in 10 primary school aged kids to sign up so let’s get our kids involved!