Why the phrase (fine! command,) “Get your ass outside,” is one of my favorite things to say.
Because. I. Care.
Oh, you do too? Sorry, but if this is not something you routinely say - I’m calling your bluff. I’m loudly shouting “BS!” to your statement of untruth.
No way, Jose, if you have not lost your ever loving sh!t at your children to put their damn screens down, step away from the video game or physically ripped it out of their hands, you are not “caring” about them, their brains, their body, any of it.
I recently came across an article written by an occupational therapist named Victoria Prooday. And although you may question my sanity at times and therefore my ability to call bluff on anything you do - Victoria is a bit of an expert in this area. And she has A LOT to say about what we're doing to our kids by letting them stay in over sending them out.
You see, in her years of working with children - elementary aged children - she says, "I have seen and continue to see a decline in kids’ social, emotional, and academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses."
Really, Victoria? Please, continue. Tell us more about why children are changing in this less-than-becoming way.
Using technology as a 'Free babysitting service' is, in fact, not free at all. The payment is waiting for you just around the corner. We pay with our kids’ nervous systems, with their attention, and with their ability for delayed gratification."
Hmmmmmm. Interesting. This is verrry interesting, Victoria. What else ya' got?
"We are all busy, so we give our kids digital gadgets and make them “busy” too. Kids used to play outside, where, in unstructured natural environments, they learned and practiced their social skills. Unfortunately, technology replaced the outdoor time. ...The brain is just like a muscle that is trainable and re-trainable. If you want your child to be able to bike, you teach him biking skills. If you want your child to be able to wait, you need to teach him patience. If you want your child to be able to socialize, you need to teach him social skills. The same applies to all the other skills. There is no difference!"
Victoria, I'm rapidly thinking you and I could be friends. Once you got past all my cursing and yelling, that is.
I will attach the link for Victoria's entire article below but basically what it's going to amount to is you actually telling your children to get their asses OUTside.
Not after five more minutes.
Not after they finish this game.
Not listening to their excuses of it's too cold or it's too wet out but rather BEING THE PARENT and telling them to. go. out.
Go hold the door open if you must. Help them find their appropriate outdoor attire and make sure they're dressed for the elements (although jinkies - they WILL have to manage this stuff eventually - why not today??) but for the love of the way our children learn and socialize - send. their. butts. out.
Not just today - but routinely. Make it a habit.
"Mom can I play on the iPad?"
"Sure, after you've gone outside for 15 minutes."
"What's there to doooooo outsiiiiiiiide?"
"Play with your sister. Build a fort. Race the neighbor kid. Shoot some hoops. And IF YOU CAN'T FIND ANYTHING ELSE WALK THE DANG DOG!"
"But we don't have a dog..."
"Then walk the neighbors dog. Dogs love walking. Find one to walk."
Friends, to read Victoria's article - click below.
But if you're short on time, and I've AT ALL sparked your worry that maybe our children are not all that they can be - then take a short cut and repeat after me, "Kids! Get your butts outside! Now!"