Too many children are spending too much time cooped up indoors, playing on computers and watching television, rather than playing outside. This is especially important to remember in winter when cold, rain and wind keeps children inside. But those daily moments of spending time outdoors playing in parks and on jungle gyms are crucially important and by robbing your child of them, you could be doing more harm than you realise.
“The weather changes from warm and sunny to cold and “dreary,” which means that the kids can’t go outside and play, right? Wrong,” says an article on Mommies Magazine.
“While your intentions may be a little off, it is still necessary for children to go outside and play – even in the winter months. No, it’s not just so you can get stuff done, but there are a lot of other ‘real’ benefits for your children when they play outside.”
Some benefits include:
Builds the immune system – By coming into contact with dirt, animals, pests and bacteria, children are less likely to develop allergies and disorders.
Fitness – An alarming number of children are obese. It is important that children have opportunity to run, swim, dance and play daily to provide natural aerobic exercise and strength training.
Stimulates the imagination – When watching television and playing computer games, children don’t have to imagine anything. Everything is shown to them. It is important they have the opportunity to create worlds of their own outside.
Social development – Playing outside with other children teaches numerous skills. It’ll help them improve their social skills by encouraging them getting to know new children. They’ll also learn how to share, negotiate and resolve conflicts which helps to promote self confidence.
Appreciation of outdoors – Only by being outside can children fully learn to appreciate the outdoors. Watches television only engages two senses – sight and hearing. The other senses – feel, taste and touch – will be seriously lacking if they are not able to experience these things outside. The beauty of the natural world is something children really notice and appreciate, if they are given the chance to do so.
“The disconnect between kids and nature is one of the greatest crises of our time,” says Scott Sampson, author of the recently released book, ‘How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature’. “Parents have to pause once in a while to look at the birds and smell the flowers,” he said. “Our kids follow what we do.”
There you have it, parents, get your children outside as often as you can. They’ll thank you for it later.