Friday, October 21, 2011

How do I get my kid off the couch?

Ask Ida

Dear Ida B. Green,

If it weren't for soccer, my son would never get off his computer games to go outside. What can I do?


X-Boxed In

Dear X-Boxed,

I may be the last person to answer your question as I raised a redhead who hated sunscreen and has preferred the world of books and computers since turning 12. However, I do know that the early years of family camping, hikes and Earth Day activities have provided a background of appreciation and skills that she now cherishes and shares with friends.

Though the draw and distraction of electronic entertainment is surprisingly strong, regular outdoor experiences are important to the physical and mental health of children as well as adults. Your parental role is to provide the opportunities and to set the boundaries that provide a reasonable ratio of outdoor to video time. Family discussions about how important you think unstructured outdoor time is can be the start for this process. From there, establish your boundaries and help your child(ren) stick to them.

But remember, it's going to be a hard sell pushing your kids out the door if you're always indoors on your electronics. So, make sure you take in the benefits and joys of outdoor fun with your kids and with your own friends.

Ironically, you can check out more ideas online: and

Keep it Green,


—Elizabeth Jeffrey

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