Electronic Free Activities For Families That Build Social Skills

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If you are like most parents, grandparents, teachers today, you probably think that children are watching way too much television today. Not only are they sitting on their rear ends inside, when you can get them outside, they are playing video games on their cell-phones or other electronics. So, not only are they not getting sufficient exercises and breathing clean air, they are also becoming more and more isolated from each other and the family.

Turn Off the Television and Turn On Fun
Do you think that fun and games must be expensive or come only after the chores and homework is done? Do you think that being together has to include food or commercial events? Are you waiting for the children to suggest a romp in the park or a race to the mailbox? Are you hoping they will ask you to come out and play?

Well, trust me, it won't happen! it is much too easy for your kids to turn on the TV, Game boy or Wii. These electronic entertainment centers are almost addictive and much too easy to turn on and hours later, they are still communicating electronically, rather than face to face interaction with other real people.

You are the Family Activities Director
If you really want the kids to turn off the electronics and turn on their imaginations, you must consistently plan family fun times. You can include the children in planning family outings and game nights. This will give them an opportunity to learn how to present ideas and negotiate in a safe environment. This planning process can teach your child how to compromise and take turns, as well as the principle of give and take.

Entertain and Connect with Games and Kids
As a parent educator, many families tell me they are concerned with a number of issues dealing with too much electronic time in front of what has been called "the third parent" or "Free baby-sitter" These are just a few of the worries:

  • How the advertising is influencing the child' s development of language (yikes) and values.
  • The family is not spending quality time together because everyone is stressed out and busy, including children.
  • The whole family has bad eating habits like snacking and mindless eating Everyone is lacking in social skills because they seldom interact with other families Their children are "bad sports" and "sore losers" on athletic teams because they don't know how to lose or win graciously.
  • No one knows how to make friends
    When family time is suggested, the kids think it means a trip to McDonald's, Disneyland or miniature golf, which all cost money.

Do some brainstorming with the whole family and see what games and activities that you can do together that require little or no preparation and no cash! Instead of spending time in front of the television, invest a few hours getting outside and enjoying each other and nature. Spend time with your children and neighbors in the community building strong bodies, minds and relationships.

It is the most important work you will ever do.

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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