Children should spend no more than one to two hours on screens, according to recommendations provided by the AAP. Unfortunately, children are increasingly dependent on mobiles, tablets and TV screens for their entertainment, learning, and sense of connection. This can be a real source of conflict within families. Both children and parents themselves seek a solution that works for the family. Imposing limits and sanctions is a common approach to the problem, but what if there is a more creative option?
Given that the rise in screen time correlates with a decrease in outdoor playtime, what if families create an outdoor space that offers something for everyone? If the garden provides something of interest to each member of the family from young to old, perhaps it could become a hub for connection? Such is a place to step away from screens and enjoy each other’s company. Let’s consider what an ideal family garden space might offer.
Rest and Relaxation
Finding quiet, restful spaces is just important for adults’ mental wellbeing as it is for children. Sometimes, it’s important to be still. Water features create a sense of tranquility as they can be calming and peaceful. Comfortable seating provides a soothing oasis. Same with a flower setting with pleasant aromas and restful colors such as white, green, and lilac.
Play and Fun
It is inevitable. Kids need the freedom to play. If possible, create an area where you don’t need to worry about flowers being rolled over by a ball, or expensive lanterns being knocked over during dress-up games. Brightly colored plastic flowers, chalks for drawing on stones, and low activity tables can make the hours fly by. Or just some empty flowerpots for goalposts and a ball; playtime doesn’t need to be pricey.
Connection and Sharing
The dinner table is often seen as the ideal place to connect. Family gathering and dinner aren’t confined to the dining room alone. The garden could be a perfect place to let conversations flow. Arrange seats facing inwards, with a table and pretty lanterns or solar lights. This kind of setup allows you to chat as the sun sets. A pizza stove or BBQ area would also provide a brilliant opportunity for sociable cooking.
It would be better to install some led outdoor lightings, too, in the garden so family members can bond or watch a movie there. This will surely boost more connection and sharing time.
Let your garden help your family grow
We hope that with these suggestions, you get to enjoy each other’s company and see your family grow.
Here’s to happy memories blossoming in your garden.