Your children have been acting up and giving you a hard time. So, you decide to take away their outdoor playtime. After all, doing that will help curb their outbursts and will help them learn discipline. Right?
The truth is that children require messy play-time just like they require food or air and it is an integral part for them to grow up as healthy, all-rounded, and wholesome human beings.
Before this incredible shift from outdoor to indoor living and this boom of urbanization, the majority of youngsters used to spend 2 to 3 hours daily participating in outdoor activities. But, times have changed where nowadays kids are spending less and less time playing outdoors. Some research even states that children are playing outside on an average of four hours per week.
Our overall engagement with the outdoors is overall less because of increased use of technology (mobile phones, video games, social media, etc.), lack of safety in many areas, fear of strangers, probability of getting sick or injured, both parents are working full time or parks and outdoor play areas are not accessible nearby.
Whatever the reason may be, we are seeing an increase in sedentary lifestyle in our kids and they are truly missing out on the benefits of being outdoors. There is plenty of evidence out there that suggests that outdoor play makes our children stronger mentally, physically and even emotionally.
- When kids play outdoors on a regular basis, they start developing a stronger cognitive function which directly impacts their grades and school performance.
- Playing in natural settings allows children to use their imagination more vividly and enhances their creativity.
- When outdoors, kids use all of their senses to experience their surroundings.
- Being physically active outdoors and around plants increases mental clarity, thus helping the child make better decisions.
- When kids play outdoors in the sun, they get a boost of Vitamin D which is great for their bones, skin, and teeth.
- Running around outside helps children gain motor skills and learn spatial awareness.
- When they play games and sports outside, it really helps their eyesight by combating nearsightedness.
- Their muscles and bones become stronger as they become fitter physically from running around.
- Children sleep more soundly when they are worn out by outdoor play which helps stimulate the growth hormone in their bodies.
- The increased level of oxygen from being outside helps alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety in children.
- Children feel better connected with nature and their families when they spend more time outdoors.
- Children learn more social skills when they play with others outside.
- Being around nature and greenery helps kids’ moods and reduces stress. It also helps slow down things when they are constantly used to being on the go.
The good news is you can start changing this ‘staying indoors’ trend and start incorporating outdoor play in your busy schedules—because all these things are not just good for children but adults too! It will definitely be worth the effort to see amazing and long-lasting benefits in you and your children.
What You Can Do Next?
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ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what to do with them.
Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognized in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia, and Australian Financial Review.
As a child, she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult, this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.
This is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.