Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Swapping online for outside

Parent Hacks is a website I go to every now and then. It's an online sharing of parenting tips sent in by parents who've tried something that works well and who want to pass on the suggestion to other parents. There was a post on there recently that caught my eye. Not a tip but a note to readers from the website's founder that if her online activity seems slower or less present, it's because she's enjoying some time offline, making the most of the summer with her family. I could really relate to her approach of stepping back from busy online activity and using the time to do fun things outside with her children while the weather is good. Although it wasn't intended as a tip for readers, I think swapping online for outside is great advice!

Summer seems so fleeting in the UK, that every day we wake up to a blue sky and sunshine feels like a special day to be enjoyed. My son and I spend a lot of time outside. You only have to think about the dark, cold winter days to realise that you should seize every opportunity to get outdoors in the summer while it's pleasant and bright. When my son is napping, I usually spend those couple of hours doing jobs around the house or doing stuff on the computer. I've even made myself stop doing that some days and taken a book outside to sit in the sun in the garden. It's felt quite refreshing!

Emails, blogs, online shopping, whatever it is you do online can wait. It's August, lots of people are on holiday, it's the height of the summer months and we should take every moment to enjoy the here and now of it. I'm not suggesting you stop doing everything on the computer that you would do in an average day but restrict what you do and the time you spend on it. Save it for the evening when the sun is going down and you're less likely to be outside anyway. See people, rather than email them. Read books, newspapers or magazines that you can take out with you to the garden or the park, rather than only your regular blogs, news sites and other online reading sources. Save the online reading for every other day, instead of daily.

Less time online and more time outside can only make you feel better too. There have been recent news reports suggesting that some of us are  not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight, which helps keep our bones, muscles and teeth strong. Fresh air boosts your mood, gives you more energy and makes you feel happier. Everyone likes the sociable side to summer, bringing people out to parks or to their gardens for picnics, barbeques, outdoor games and swimming. Let's make the most of it while it lasts!

Is it a natural response to summer for you to spend less time online or do you have to consciously tell yourself to spend less time on the computer and more time outside?


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