5 Ways to Get Kids Outdoors and Off Screens
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5 Ways to Get Kids Outdoors and Off Screens

Habits changed in 2020. Here’s how to help your family enjoy the great outdoors again while still keeping everyone safe.

Habits changed in 2020. Here’s how to help your family enjoy the great outdoors again while still keeping everyone safe.

Spring 2021 has been a long time coming and we’re all happy it’s here. One year ago, lockdowns, quarantines, and anxiety kept most families indoors. Board games around coffee tables replaced ball games at local diamonds. Vacations were cancelled. Closets were cleaned. Kids blossomed into chefs as they helped parents plan and cook meals. They puzzled and crafted, read books and redecorated rooms. And families learned a new way to zoom that didn’t require leaving the house.

Throughout it all, parents and kids turned to their screens. Out of boredom, yes, but also out of necessity. Kids had to use their devices to communicate with extended family members, attend school and virtual camps, and connect with friends. Screen time rules became lax and new—and perhaps old—bad habits began to take hold.

Spring 2021 offers a real chance to get outdoors, start a new screen time routine, and spend less time on devices, thanks to new vaccines and fewer restrictions. Outdoor play is critical for kids, and not just as an alternative to screens. Sunshine boosts vitamin D and improves immunity. Outside projects, like building fairy houses or gardening, require more thought, imagination, and follow-through, thereby increasing kids’ attention spans. Active pastimes, like biking, soccer, or climbing trees, provide exercise and increase their strength and agility. And kids who spend time in nature grow up with a greater appreciation for our planet.

Here are ways to change your old 2020 habits into a new springtime routine:

Spring 2020: Ordering takeout at home.

Spring 2021: Pack a picnic and go to the local park or beach as a family.

Spring 2020: Playing video games alone or board games around the coffee table.

Spring 2021: Plan games outdoors, like throwing a frisbee or playing kickball, that are appropriately distanced from others but bring family together.

Spring 2020: Stocking up for a biweekly trip to the grocery store.

Spring 2021: Shop for fresh, seasonal produce at an outdoor farmers market. Have kids pick out their favorite fruits and veggies and join in the cooking. Al fresco dining for the win!

Spring 2020: Streaming a movie on the sofa.

Spring 2021: Head out together to a movie at a drive-in theater, old-school style.

Spring 2020: Camping out in living room forts or with tech in the bedroom.

Spring 2021: Camp in the great outdoors. Right now camping is best with members of the same household. However, if you camp with friends or extended family, sleep in separate tents spaced six feet apart and avoid sharing camping supplies.

As long as you still practice distancing, masking, and sanitizing, these types of activities present a low risk of spreading or contracting COVID. Other low-risk activities include hiking, biking or kayaking, and outdoor, safely distanced fitness classes. As we ease into a different normal than a year ago, outdoor activities help kids expand their wings again while weaning them off their devices for a healthier balance this season.

Learn how Circle can help you get kids outdoors and off screens with features like Focus Time and Pause the Internet®.

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