Sometimes it can be hard for kids to balance time playing outside on playsets versus time playing video games. Instead of looking at video games as a serious problem, let’s take a look at what skills it promotes and how you can incorporate these skills into your child’s physical world.
Playsets Skill Set for Kids
We all know that playing on outside playsets is important for physical and mental health.
Physical playing outside on a playset gives your children energy, promotes brain development, such as executive function; improves attention; improves learning and memory function; and aids in long-term neuroplasticity, which can extend brain life in your older years.
So it is possible that video games can improve these function too? And how can outside playsets work together?
Skill Sets Encouraged by Electronics and Video Games
Violent video games don’t have to be the only thing your children play while on the computer. There are a number of ways electronics can enhance your children’s mental faculties.
What skills do video games promote? It has been proven that video games can improve and teach things like: timing, organization, interior design, resource management and morality.
Video games can teach things like the importance of social skills, problem solving, learning that actions have consequences, perseverance, good decision making, critical thinking, and effective communication.
Some technology improves creativity. It’s true… In small doses, watching television and listening to audio books online can improve imaginative play and creativity. Just watch any young child after they’ve ingested a TV show or movie. The characters immediately become involved in their imaginary play.
Another great way to incorporate technology into creative play is by using audio books. One of our favorite websites is Storynory. Since there are few pictures, my daughter has to imagine the story as she listens, increasing attention and using her imagination to attend to the detail of the story.
Video Games can improve exercise habits.
Personally, exercise is way more beneficial and effective when done playing on outside playsets in the fresh air, but if you have a child that needs some incentive to move his/her body, using a Wii or Kinect to get kids to move their bodies can be beneficial. These activities can also be useful at getting kids into shape or getting exercise during the winter months or inclement weather.
How to Use Electronics Skills to Your Child’s Benefit
Rather than making electronics a source of annoyance for yourself and a reward or luxury for your child, trying to view them through the lens of just another way to learn.
Help your child pick out games that use the above skills, rather than violent or degrading video games. Educate yourself on the popular games and choose ones that you think have the most benefit.
Play the games with your child if possible, making it a time of connection and also to monitor the games for inappropriate content.
Talk to your child about the skills they are using. These skills will boost your child’s self confidence and encourage them to find healthy activities outside of playing video games. Children with high self esteem are more likely to join school activities that require tryouts, like sports teams and drama.
Do Electronics Benefit Children More than Outside Playsets?
Playing on outside playsets is still one of the best ways to get your child active. Even though you may approach electronics with a healthy attitude, don’t fool yourself into thinking they are more beneficial than physical play and outside time.
Outside time away from electronics needs to be encouraged as well.
Set limits around electronic play. As of now, my daughter doesn’t play many video games. But we do have limits on how much TV time is allowed.
Set a basic time limit on all electronic activity. Your children will enjoy it more if they aren’t given unlimited amounts of time in front of a screen. Too much screen time results in overeating, slouching and overall poor health. Just enough screen time can result in healthy life skills that can aid in their outdoor play, school work and social skills.
More Outside Playset Time After School Work is Done…
Electronic use should come after all school work is done and outside play is done. During the school year, limit after school activities to playing outside on playsets and let electronics take a break until the weekend. That’s when you can let your children indulge in some relaxing time in front of a T.V screen.
When you look at electronics through the lens of all other activities, knowing that they promote healthy, self-confidence boosting skills and promote beneficial skills, they can be just another type of play to encourage. Always encourage your child to play on outside playsets. It will prove to be more enjoyable for them and it will keep them healthy!
Cracked.com – 5 Skills Video Games Teach Kids