If given the choice, my two sons would play Wii games all day. They pick Wii, PS2 or computer games over playing outside. When I was their age, the technology they love didn’t exist.  We played outside every chance we had.  I would put on my skates and keep them on my feet all day some days. I would run to Katie’s house and play in her neat playhouse. As I grew older, I would ride my bike to my best friend, Heidi’s house and we’d ride to Ice Cream World or the park.  We kept ourselves busy doing active things, getting fresh air and exercise. Even as an adult, I get antsy if I am inside on beautiful days. As a daycare provider, I am lucky because I can take the children outside and enjoy the sunshine. When I worked in the outside world, I remember looking for any opportunity to leave the building to get a glimpse of the beautiful day.

Today I have to bribe my sons to play outside and stay outside. I remind them that someday they will be grown and have to work inside all day.  I tell them they need to enjoy their childhood and play outside now. They are lucky they have a nice backyard that has become sort of a congregation area for neighbor children as well. We have a play set with swings, a club house and slide.  We also have a large deck with numerous ride-on toys.  We also have a little village made up of three plastic play houses. I think it is a fun place to be!  They also have the option of riding their bikes, roller skating, or riding their scooters in the front yard.

Unfortunately for them, the world has changed and they cannot roam the neighborhood as I was able to do.  They need to ride, skate or scoot in front of our house.   It is a sad reality we have to keep a stricter eye on our children. It takes away that sense of adventure we had as children.

In the winter, the boys got into the habit of playing Wii games after school until dinner and homework time. Now that it is warm outside I have put a stop to the Wii, PS2 and computer games after school.  It was hard at first; they complained and cried about it.  But now, three weeks later, they barely ask for it.  They’ve been playing outside after school.  My new rule is if it is warm and sunny, they need to play outside for at least an hour after school.  They have no idea what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to play outside.  My goal for this upcoming summer is to have a lot of outdoor time and reading time before they have the privilege of playing their beloved computer games.  Someday, they will appreciate the chances they had to run in the fresh air and the freedom to play outside all day.