There’s a stark contrast on how we were raised as kids and how this current generation is growing up. Today, children spend more time indoors, either playing with electronic devices or watching television. Their lives have been so structured around achievements and academic goals. Generally, it has become unsafe to let your kids out to play.
But unknowingly, this affects their physical, mental, and emotional development. Kids don’t always have to be on the streets to play. If you have a backyard with a black metal fence that ensures that the kids won’t go out and mingle with strangers, you should allow your kids to play outdoors. Why is it important to let your kids play outside?
Yes, everyone’s afraid of sunburn and the risk of skin cancer and other types of skin diseases. The environment isn’t what it used to be. When you go out at 9 AM these days, the kind of sun that you’re getting is not the good kind anymore. However, one hour of play outdoors at the right time won’t put your children at risk. Kids and adults alike need sunshine because it offers vitamin D, which is important for bone development. Sun exposure is also good for the immune system and for improving moods.
Children just don’t exercise these days anymore. They spend their days lying and sitting. This increases the risk of obesity. They need at least one hour of exercise every day, and there’s no better way for this to happen than to allow them to play outdoors. Children cannot go on the treadmill and brisk walk for an hour. That’s not how exercise works for them.
Playing outdoors will teach kids how to plan, prioritize, negotiate, and multitask. They will also become creative and great at problem-solving . These are important things later in life when they need to lead their own careers. They can learn these things through unstructured playing time that allows them to explore and decide. They make up their own games, figure out solutions to their predicaments, and amuse themselves about their surroundings.
As parents, it’s hard to watch your children take risks that might put them in harm’s way. However, putting them in a bubble and shielding them from every harm that might come will not help them become better adults. You should learn to loosen the reins a little bit. Allowing them to make mistakes and fail is one of the best things that you can teach them. In life, failing (to climb the tree or make a new friend) is as much important as winning. It will teach you a lot of things that spending indoors just won’t.
Children need to make new friends, learn to make connections, and cooperate. They need to adjust to what others need and to treat other people with respect. In a structured setting such as a school, friendships can feel forced. Outside the school, children are free to explore their own brand of socialization.
Send your kids outside, even if it’s just for an hour every day. If you don’t feel that they can be safe there, go with them and play with them. You will find that your kids love the idea of having you there, too, especially if you can loosen up a bit.