More Green Less Screen

KIDS WATCHING TELEVISIONMany moms would agree that our kids simply spend too much time sitting in front of the television or computer. The good news is, you can change that.

With children's body mass indexes going up and daily activity level going down, it's good to know that there are proactive things you can do to successfully increase outdoor time and decrease screen time.  If you're trying to get your kids to spend more time outside, here' s 5 of my best tips.

1. Encourage active, rather than sedentary play.

Make your backyard a place your kids want to spend time in. Be sure there's safe, open space for them to run and make balls and other outdoor toys available. Set up an obstacle course in the backyard, play games like tag or have a treasure hunt. If playing in the backyard isn't an option, make it a point to visit your local playground regularly.

2. Look for natural opportunities to capitalize on outdoor time.

Do you usually walk the dog after the kids are in bed? Do it right after dinner and insist the kids come along. Do you drive somewhere you could walk or bike? If so, take a trip sans car.

3. Limit screen time.

One of the most effective ways for kids to engage in active, outdoor play is to limit their screen time. Set daily limits for how much total screen time your child is allowed each day. If your child is resistant, perhaps she can earn back 5 minutes of screen time for each 15 minutes of time she spends outdoors.

4. Make going outside part of your daily routine.

The best way you can assure your kids get time outdoors each day is to plan for it by incorporating it into your daily routine. Whether it's an after dinner stroll or before nap run around the backyard, planning to get outdoors with the kids can help assure you actually get outdoors.

5. Enroll the kids in a sports program.

If you struggle to get the kids outside, consider signing them up for soccer, kickball or any other type of recreational activity that requires outside time. Fresh air and  exercise is a winning combination!

Whatever you do, if your kids don't see you spending time in the great outdoors, they're not going to want to spend much time their either. Be a role model and make time to be active outdoors every day. You may be surprised how easily your kids follow along.

What do you do to encourage outdoor play? How have you go the kids to spend more time outside? Share your experiences in the comments section below.