Get out! Here’s what to do if your kid is screen-addicted

Published on January 29, 2021

My ten-year-old son loves video games. He thinks about them all the time. Even on the way to church, he has been known to ask out-of-the-blue questions like, “Mom, how much screen time will I get today?” 

As someone who grew up going outside almost every day, this drives me crazy.

My wife and I work to combat his addicted thought process. We tell him to spend an hour reading first or go play outside for an hour. 

When he does these things first, he instinctively knows when that hour is up. He then bursts forth with jubilance and asks, “Can I have my screen time now?” 

Funny, he never instinctively knows when his hour of screen time is up!

On God and getting outside

One successful way we have learned to get him away from the screen is to spend time outside as a family. Both he and our daughter love hiking, biking, skiing, camping, and other outdoor activities. 

The outside world makes for a great escape from technology, and it also provides many opportunities to talk with our children about God.

Nature speaks to us about God, and God speaks to us through his creation.

Romans 1 tells of this, as does Psalms 19 and other psalms and Scripture passages. Even some of Jesus’s parables point to nature to illustrate spiritual truths (Matthew 10:29, Luke 12:27). 

Theologians call this “general revelation.” General revelation works hand in hand with the Bible, what theologians call “special revelation.”

With evolutionary doctrine so prevalent in our culture, it’s important to show our kids how nature points to God. 

We can start doing this at an early age. Nature fascinates young children, and they are eager to learn about God.

Life from life, bunny from bunny, seed from seed

We can start with simple examples. We can tell them how God uses the wind. 

One autumn day, when our children were still preschoolers, we took them on a hike around a lake. On the side of the trail, we saw dried-up milkweed plants. I opened a milkweed seed pod and showed them all the seeds attached to the white, fuzzy thistledown.

When the wind blew, the seeds got caught up into the air and blew away. I explained to my kids this was God’s way of sending the seeds off to new places to grow, ensuring there would be more milkweed plants next year. 

This simple illustration shows God’s wisdom and creativity.

Nature reveals that life needs to come from life. 

Every living thing comes from some other living thing. Every baby chick and every baby animal has parents. When the babies grow up, they become the same animal as their parents and not something else. A baby bunny becomes a rabbit, not a cow.

We can also explain that every plant came from a seed from the same kind of plant. Seeds from tomatoes grow into tomato plants. Gardens make for a great place to talk about seeds and plants and how God makes them grow. 

We brought our kids into our garden at a very early age. Kids see firsthand that when a seed is planted and well cared for, it grows. 

In the same way, our faith also needs to be planted and well cared for in order to grow.

We know from Genesis 1:26 that God created us in his image. And because he made us in his image, it makes sense that people love to create beautiful art just as God creates beautiful art. Whether a child knows it or not, her artistic nature comes from spiritual DNA inherited from her heavenly Father.

Rotting with purpose

On hikes, we often see old logs along the side of the trail. The older logs sometimes do not look like much more than dirt. This makes for a great example of how God recycles things in the natural world.

That dusty log was once a tree that grew strong in the soil. The soil nourished the tree, but it eventually grew old, died, and is now becoming the soil again. As part of the soil, the old log becomes nourishment to future trees.

Pointing out the wonders of God in nature to your children will help them see the wonder of God in them.

Explain to them that if God has a purpose for a rotting log, how great a purpose does he have for your child! 

God loves our children greatly and has wonderful plans for them.

Mountains of snow

Teachable moments do not stop when winter comes. Children love snow. Winter walks make for another great venue to talk about God. 

When we walk in the snow on a sunny day, the snowflakes reflect the sun like thousands of tiny diamonds. 

As Christians, we reflect God’s light and love to the world. We shine as snowflake diamonds for God.

Most children learn in school that every snowflake forms its own unique shape. Explain to your child, “As Christians, we know God makes the snowflakes. If God makes each one unique and different, then imagine the unique way he created you!” 

Each child is made far more unique and special than any snowflake!

A sense of wonder

Many other natural things bring out a sense of awe in us. 

The ocean, desert rock formations, a star-filled sky, vast lakes, soaring eagles, and other wildlife—all these things tell us something about God. 

So, get the kids outside and use nature to teach them about the wonders of God.

Live perfectly imperfect

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Pasquale Mingarelli

Pasquale “Pat” Mingarelli is a professional photographer, Christian speaker, and writer. He helps people connect with God through God’s Word and his nature photography. Pat does this so people may better know God and draw closer to Him.

Pat blogs daily on experiencing God in and through His creation at the Visual Bible Verse of the Day, where he combines God’s Word and His creation to encourage and inspire people in their daily life. You can visit his blog at visualverse.thecreationspeaks.com

Read more about Pasquale

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