Screen time or green time?
Our children these days are bombarded by screens all day and tend to spend lots of time in front of one type of or another whether they’re watching TV, playing games or doing homework. What this means is that unfortunately, they are often not getting as much exercise or interacting and connecting face-to-face with others.
Screens are part of our lives so we’re not suggesting they shouldn’t spend time doing these things, but that their time should be balanced by spending time being active and interacting with others as well. Recently one of the mums at one of our pools was heard to say, ‘There is screen time and there’s green time’. What is a challenge for parents if finding the balance between the two.
Balancing screen hours with active time is important because it helps children to unplug and enjoy time in, and connecting with nature. “Everything in moderation” applies to those screen hours.
Did you know that swimming actually gives children a connection to nature? And because of this, it can help give them some balance?
Exploration & inspiration
Many swimming activities are outdoors and that puts children in a special environment for learning and connecting to nature. Swimming stimulates exploration wherever the swimming is taking place. Lakes and beaches become instant playgrounds that children will explore every inch, learning about what lives in and around the water. Water creatures inspire curiosity and natural curiosity will push children to ask question after question – which provides parents with built in quality time.
Inclination to be healthy
Swimming is healthy, working muscles that other activities don’t use, increasing stamina, balance, and coordination. Swimming outdoors adds the benefits of exposure to sunshine aka Vitamin D (but always make sure you are sunsmart!).
Motivation to hang out with friends
Swimming inspires children to connect and interact with others. Many developmental skills are sharpened by an activity like swimming that is usually done with others. Children grow enormously in interpersonal skills when fun activities are filled with actions that encourage competition, following instructions, being responsible for actions, waiting in line, figuring out how control muscles and create specific movements, and gaining self-confidence.
Swimming and being active also encourages interest in more activity. And the more active our children are, the more apt they are to be fit, strong, stress-free children.