We all know that our kids spend too much time online; if they’re not playing online games, they are chatting with their friends on Facebook or Tik-Tok and try as we might, it is very hard to monitor what our kids do in their free time. There are ways that you can encourage your children to engage in activities that are beneficial, and with that in mind, here are a few examples.
- Group activities – A google search will help you find after school programs for kids from a leading fitness provider that offers engaging courses, and you can book your son or daughter for a Sunday morning session. Physical exercise is essential for growing kids and getting them outdoors on a challenging course will help to maintain their good health. Check out their website for program details and there’s even a collection and drop-off service, should you be at work. They have weekend classes as well as after school and in the summer holidays, they offer intensive programs that last a few weeks. Fitness-based activities offer kids that much-needed channel in which to direct their energy and there will be a provider near you.
- Encourage Sports – If your child shows an interest in any sport, you should support them as much as possible. This is a positive way to channel their energy and who knows? Your child might be an Olympic Gold Medal winner in the future! Introduce your kids to new sports in the hope that you might hit a hot button and ignite a passion in your child. You could help by taking your kids to watch soccer and rugby games, or any other sport you might be into; you could take the whole family and make a day of it. MMA is very popular in Australia and learning mixed martial arts is great for self-defence; something all children should know. Boxing is another contact sport that your child might like to try, along with karate and judo.
- Limit Online Time – If you think your kids are spending too much time on their devices, talk to them about it. Make some rules about online time and involving your kids in outdoor activities during their free time at home will help. Search online for a local learning academy and enroll your kids in a weekly activity, where they will meet new friends and channel that teenage energy in a positive direction. If your family use wireless Internet, there are settings that allow you to limit their online time, and more importantly, the websites they visit, which might not be suitable. You can create filters that stop minors from accessing porn sites (Google will help you to learn more about this). Writing code is something that many young people are interested in, as this article highlights.
- Spending Time with your Kids – If you have a heavy work schedule, it might be a challenge to find quality time with your kids, but you should make the effort. Resist the temptation to promise something that you cannot keep to, as this can cause resentment in your children. Even watching a movie together can help to maintain a bond and if you are able, why not take the family to watch a movie at the local cinema? Even if you do spend most of your time at work, you can have real-time video calls with your kids, which might not be the same as being in the same room, but it is better than no contact at all. If you are not sure how VoIP applications work, ask your kids, as they would be familiar with programs like Zoom and Skype and they can teach you how to use the program.
- Encouraging an Entrepreneurial Spirit – It might be that your son or daughter is a budding Elon Musk and if you see signs of this, you should support any venture. Help your teenage offspring to build a website and check with the Australian government about incentives for entrepreneurs. Never discourage your child if they have a dream, rather you should help to keep their vision alive, whatever it may take; many successful businesspeople started when they were still at school and if their parents had not supported them at that time, they might never have reached the heights they achieved.
The teenage years are critical and by encouraging your kids to get involved in positive and engaging activities, you are steering them in the right direction. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your kids are fine with playing online games, as too much of this can be very harmful. Talk to your partner and see how they feel about your kids in terms of behaviour and what they do in their free time and if all is well, make sure you continue to monitor your kids to ensure they are getting involved with the right type of activities.