When I was a kid, as soon as we got home from school, we went outside to play and we didn’t return until dark. We would catch crawdads in the creek, climb trees, play in a club house, go to the local playground, play ball at the church parking lot and tag with our friends, etc. The list is endless. We never watched TV and video games were in its infancy.

Nowadays, it’s hard to even see any kids in our neighborhood playing outside. When my kids are outside, theirs are the only voices I hear. I like the fact that our neighborhood is quiet, but I wouldn’t mind the sound of kids playing in the streets or in their yards.

Who’s to blame for this trend? You hear in the media about the increase in child obesity which results in the increase in diabetes amongst other health risks. Yet, to me, these are just statistics. You never hear any concrete solutions to these problems being offered up.

Basically, it is the parents’ fault if their child is overweight. They are the ones controlling what food goes in. They are also the ones controlling what their children do in their spare time. Baring genetic or environmental conditions, children should never be overweight with all the energy they expend.

For me, my kids won’t have a TV or a computer in their room. No video games will be purchased. TV will only be allowed for a certain time period in the week and that is it. The rest of the time they can read, play outside, do chores, or use their imaginations to play at will.

I understand the temptation to turn on the TV to get the kids out of your hair. Trust me, I have been there. But is this really doing your kids any favors? Isn’t it just for yourself and not them? In the future, will your children thank you for the endless hours of TV they watched that they no longer remember? Picture it in 20 years: “Hey, Mom. I really want to thank you for letting me watch so much TV and play so many video games. It has taught me a lot about life.”

Realistically, your kids will thank you for making them play outside, for forging relationships with other kids, and for learning valuable life skills such as negotiation, empathy, sympathy, fun, social, morals, etc. They will remember playing with Suzie Q down the street a lot more than what level they achieved in such-and-such a video game.

In my opinion, life is about creating memories. One of your goals as a parent should be to provide your children with cherished memories of quality, family time or time with friends. This is what they will carry with them always, even when you are no longer around. I want my kids to remember their childhood as having fun with no worries and a time of exploring and learning about this world we have chosen to bring them into. Life is too short and too complicated to not cherish those precious moments when all you have to do and be is just a kid.

Author's Bio: 

By: Jennifer Dionne. Her website is www.loveofparenting.com, a comprehensive view of pregnancy and parenting. She is a stay-at-home mom who is passionate about helping other moms through the challenges of motherhood. She is the author of “How to Have a Baby Your Way”, which is available through her website.