Go outside and play! Notice that I did not say, "Send them outside to play." When was the last time you went outside to play a game WITH your kids? I know that we all get busy and our schedules get so cramped, that going outside to play with our kids doesn't seem to be feasible. I want to challenge you and myself to make some changes.
From what I see, today's kids are staying inside way too much. Tell me about some of your greatest childhood memories. When I was a kid, my dad and I used to go outside and __________________...You fill in the blank. I know that my favorite memories involve my family and being outdoors making up games in the backyard, or hunting and fishing. I believe that those times outside helped me develop the athletic skills that allowed me to play at higher levels, and more importantly, I was able to spend time with the people I loved, and it was just plain fun. Hours would go by and our only concern was how much longer we could play before it got dark.
I am not sure who is to blame, the kids or us parents? It is so easy to just let them fall into an X-Box coma, so we can get all of our "important things" done. It's a trap the we can all fall into, but let's just ask our kids if they would like to go outside and play a game of one-on-one hoops or throw the ball around. I think I know how they will respond, and everyone will be glad they made the effort.
Even if you can't make it work, either physically, or due to the busy nature of your life, I still think that we can do our kids a huge favor by making them go outdoors. I am sure that you are aware of the overwhelming epidemic of childhood obesity that is directly related to kids not getting enough exercise. It is only going to get worse unless some major lifestyle changes are made in each of our homes. The bigger regret may come from not taking advantage of the fleeting opportunities to spend time with the greatest gift we have ever been given...our kids.
You may be saying that your kids are too old now, and you missed your chance. Well, I have heard it said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago... and the second best time is right now. If you haven't been very good at going outside and playing with your kids, start a new tradition today. Whether your children are teenagers or toddlers... Go outside and play!