iPhones over Road Hockey for Canadian kids?

July 26, 2012

We have a question from an Edmonton nanny... can you help her?

"I was really excited when I recently got a job caring for 2 school-aged children for the summer. But lately, I can’t seem to get them off their iPads! It seems that they just want to sit around inside all day and play Angry Birds, instead of playing outside like I was looking forward to! I'm worried that they're wasting their summer! Anytime I suggest something else, they say no. Help???"

Every adult would agree that generally, the children of today's society spend too much time on electronics, and not enough time on 'old-fashioned' fun. A recent survey quoted in the Ottawa Citizen states that boys would rather play on their iPhones than play street hockey, which is a bit of a sad state in our society.

As many of the popular games are pretty mindless, it is affecting the child physically and mentally, which in turn has a negative effect on society today, and the future.

I recommend that this nanny speak to the child's parents about their concerns, and come up with a plan together. Perhaps it will be agreed that the children are only allowed a certain amount of time each day they're allowed to use their electronics, enforced by both the nanny and the parents. The nanny could also plan indoor and outdoor activities with the kids in advance, taking their ideas of what they'd like to do. If the children don't follow the plan, the nanny and parents could enforce the rule with consequences.

We asked our Facebook fans, and these are some ideas they came up with!

  • "Plan a trip to the beach-park-waterslides. Set the bags by the door and accidentally forget to take the one with the iPad[s]. Once there they will be active and doing what you hoped for...a fun summer!"
  • "Just an idea! Buy a magnetic white-board, a permanent market, and some magnets (all different colors). Divide the board into two rows, and however many blocks you want, depending on how much time you have and how many activities you'd like to do (say if you work 9am-6pm, divide the board into 7 blocks? ...either color-code the magnets or label them with activity names! At the beginning of the day, let the kids choose which block they would like to put each magnet. Make sure they know that whatever the decide is what they have to do, no changing later on! If they argue about having to go outside, you can show them what they chose for the time it is, and they can't argue. If you want something simpler, when you feel they have had enough on their iPad, give them two options. "We're not going to play with our iPads anymore. Would you rather go outside and play in the sprinkler, or do a craft inside?""
  • "Set a limit - boundaries - discuss their interests and have something planned for them, something they can look forward to."

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More on this topic: - Advice for Caregivers

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