Screens are not the best modality for communication. We all know deep in our bones that the best way to communicate with people is face to face. I acknowledge the irony that I am writing on a screen about how important escape from screen time is.
Our kids are spending more and more time in front of screens of all sorts at home and at school. Books and homework are now often online. While it definitely lightens their backpacks, our kids might be paying a price for spending too much time on electronic devices.
Too much screen time can cause eye strain, impact sleep, and can create or exacerbate behavioral issues. Our species needs face to face interaction to build social skills and healthy relationships.
Regular family dinner with no electronics at the table, is a key component in building a healthy relationship with food. Kids who eat together as a family tend to do better in school and have less incidence of drug and alcohol issues. By building a healthier relationship with food, families who eat together have lower rates of obesity. I’m not just making this up! The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has actually done some serious studies on the topic of eating dinner together as a family.
More screen time = less time in nature. Nature deficit disorder is a real thing! The term was originated by Richard Louv in his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods. This phenomenon has now been studied and discussed extensively. Louv’s recent book Vitamin N, offers over 500 strategies for overcoming nature disconnect.
Gardening with your kids can be an excellent antidote to nature deficit disorder. Growing some food requires your presence outdoors on a consistent, regular basis. Your relationship with the weather changes when you’re growing food. You might actually appreciate a rainy day as a break from watering, and a hot sunny day will cause zucchini grow at a rapid rate.
You can start small if you’re new to growing veggies. Large amounts of land are not required for growing food for a family. A sunny spot in your yard or on your deck along with some good containers will do the trick. Grow bags, like this one for potatoes, are one easy option. Container gardening is a great way to start growing food with your family. Salad greens and herbs can also be great options for beginning gardeners.
Consider less screens and more veggies as a formula for better health. Spend more time outside, grow some veggies and eat together as a family more often. Give it a try, its easier than you think!