In 2019, kids are still kids, but they’re also addicted to technology and social media. What they need to thrive today is no different than ten years ago, but it’s getting harder to separate them from their devices to get them out into the world. If you’re a parent, you’ll probably need to do some convincing.
Here are 6 things kids need to thrive in today’s high-tech world:
1. Summer camp/outdoor camp
Summer camps are a fun way for kids to get involved in unique activities like archery and swimming sports. In school, they might be asked to swim a few laps for physical education, but if they want to try a sport like water polo, they have to commit to being on a team. Summer camps that offer water activities usually offer a variety of activities for kids to try, and they’re not all competitive.
Outdoor camps are similar to summer camps, but they focus more on nature. While there might be an outing to go swimming, outdoor camps for kids usually involve camping in cabins and going on hikes to learn about the environment, plants, and animals. They’ll spend time looking for and identifying animal tracks and learning about the ecosystem in the forest and streams. A big benefit to sending your kids to an outdoor camp is they’ll learn to distinguish harmful plants like poison ivy and poison oak. This is a simple skill that will benefit them (and others) for a lifetime.
Camps give children time away from social media so they can interact in the real world and form strong bonds with kids their age.
2. Family camping trips
Whether you go camping or glamping, getting your kids out into nature at least once a year is important. Nothing beats bonding with family around a campfire, toasting marshmallows on a stick. It’s a great way for kids to learn basic survival skills, how to pitch a tent, cook over a fire, and even build a fire (safely).
3. Good books with humor
Kids love to laugh, and they love to make other people laugh. One of the best ways to laugh with your children is to indulge in some humorous books like The Day the Crayons Quit, Dragons Love Tacos, and This book just ate my dog! You can find a summary, age range, and link to these books and more on NannyJoynt.
As kids get older they might express interest in non-fiction or novels that are more involved. Those books are also a great way to help them practice reading skills, memorize how to spell certain words, and expand their vocabulary.
4. Birthday parties in the park
Even kids too young to appreciate the outdoors deserve to have birthday parties in nature. Today, they spend far too much time cooped up in their rooms with iPads and video games. In fact, today they spend half as much time outside as their parents did when they were kids. Research has shown that kids who spend time outdoors are healthier and are more socially adept.
Maybe your child doesn’t have a technology addiction, but their friends might. If you host your child’s birthday party outdoors, you’re giving their friends time away from technology they wouldn’t otherwise get.
5. Rules and limitations for screen time
Speaking of technology addiction, kids need rules and limitations for screen time, just like any other rule. If you’ve already given in to your child’s request for a smartphone, it’s not too late. You can use parental controls to limit their ability to text during certain hours and you can always require them to relinquish their phone overnight.
6. Open dialogue about social media issues
Perhaps more than anything, kids need the ability to have an open dialogue with you about social media. It’s unthinkable that there are so many issues that are magnified on social media like bullying and doxing, but it happens all the time. According to Pew Research, 59% of U.S. teens reported having been bullied or harassed online. The harassment includes offensive name-calling, the spreading of false rumors, being sent explicit images they didn’t ask for, and physical threats.
There’s no way around it – if your child uses social media, they’re probably being harassed. Without open communication, your kids won’t be likely to talk about what’s going on.
Kids thrive when they’re supported
They thrive when the adults in their lives to support them in every way possible. Sometimes support comes in the form of rules, and other times it’s maintaining an open and honest connection. Other times it’s allowing them to explore the world with their bare hands.
In today’s high-tech world, kids need a break from the digital world. Get them out in nature, and let them explore.