I don’t remember my parents’ old tv much (except that it was black & white and rather dusty), but I do remember that the entire family were watching one movie each week. As a child, Friday was my only movie night and half way through I was always falling asleep.
Most of the time I had my brother and three sisters keeping me busy hide and seeking in the garden or running wild on the football pitch. Our summer holidays were well spent going fishing with my dad, yet I remember vividly the generous sized sandwiches my mum was always carefully placing in our picnic basket. I was a lucky child who spent most of his childhood in the countryside, way long before my university days and a fun career in law in this buzzing capital.
What I was trying to highlight before the various memories started to get me all emotional, is that my son doesn’t live the same childhood I did. Neither does my daughter. He may have cooler shoes and lots of screens that he can already easily access, but he doesn’t have the woods I grew up in. In the beginning I found his fast learning entertaining, I was impressed with how fast kids pick things up, Lucas wasn’t even two and he knew how to access apps on my phone or on the iPad. Currently he’s not even 5 and he’s asking Google Home for baking recipes and YouTube access. While I’m a tech fan who follows all trends and updates, and encourage my children to learn as much as they can with the help of technology I know that too much time spend inside is less time spent outside.
So not long ago, I started to question my own parenting style. Do I encourage my children to spend as much time outdoors as my parents did with me? Do I initiate any outdoors experiences where I can be a part of? The answer is I could always do more and that is my main focus at the moment. I believe that it’s our duty to help our children’s cognitive, emotional and physical development be at their best, therefore ensure they build resilience and imagination, two things that in my opinion are so important for achieving an accomplished life.
This year Persil wants everyone to ‘Embrace Dirt’, taking time away from screens to fully involve themselves in the educational and therapeutic qualities of the outdoors. I read something interesting a few nights back, that children are very active by nature and they tend to learn and develop brain connections through experiences, therefore sitting for long periods of time, while staring at a screen, is a very unnatural behaviour for them. Persil recognises the importance of children playing and embracing dirt – as such, they have been promoting the benefits of outdoor play for over a decade. Together with experts and partners, Persil is committed to helping address this outdoor to digital play imbalance.
A new study has revealed that, by age 7, children will have spent 2 years and 3 months of their lives in front of a screen. More than half of that time is ‘mindless’ screen time – spent without family or friends, in solitary, screen-based activities. That’s a scary figure of 456 days of alone screen time by age of 7 versus 182 days of outdoor free play…
Currently we are having so much fun embracing the outdoor play thanks to Persil! This mud-kitchen is keeping the little ones busy for hours and it’s often such a great way to actually keep us all entertained! If you wish to get involved in the Dirt is Good campaign go to www.persil.com/dirtisgood