The fast-paced 21st century has witnessed drastic technological changes that have directly affected our lifestyles. The present generation of children, also known as Generation Z, are very different in a variety of ways compared to earlier generations, the most noticeable being the amount of time they spend indoors. On average, an American child spends less than 10 minutes a day outside and spends more than seven hours playing video games, watching TV, or on other gadgets. Kids should play outside, but why?
Benefits of Children Playing Outside
Improves a Child Physical Health
The habits that you teach your child when they are young will directly impact their future. You should encourage your kids to go out and run around, wrestle, hang from objects (not too high), explore things, throw balls among many other things children like doing. They will reduce the risk of obesity by burning calories. Also, some activities, like climbing objects, strengthen their muscles. Research shows that physically active kids are strong and healthier than kids who stay all day indoors. Chances that they will carry on with the bad habits into adulthood are high.
Support Cognitive Function and Improves Social Skills
Your children can develop self-awareness by learning about their abilities and their surroundings. They are also able to develop social skills when they interact with other people, which improves their organization skills, cooperation, communication skills, and confidence to make them come out of their comfort zone. They are more likely to develop a passion for playing a sport, meeting new friends, and it also teaches them to be responsible for themselves away from parental supervision.
Improves a Child’s Sensory Skills
Study shows that by encouraging your child to play outside, they develop better sensory skills like vision. Since children use their senses to learn new things and explore their surroundings, playing outside facilitates the improved use of all five senses. On the other hand, however, kids who stay indoors only use two senses – hearing and seeing, which results in an adverse impact on the child’s development.
Children are always curious to explore everything around them. Playing outdoors lengthens the child’s attention span. An example is children who stay for hours on the beach, making sand crafts. They get to exploit their creativity and participate in new activities. Medical studies show that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are likely to show fewer symptoms when involved in outdoor activities.
Strengthens Immunity and Overall Well-Being
Your child is happier outside when given the freedom to explore. Mental health is directly connected to physical wellness. Playing outside reduces stress and anxiety significantly hence improving your child’s mood. Sunlight not only provides vitamin D but also stimulates the pineal gland – a part of the brain that strengthens immunity. Additionally, children who interact with nature are more likely to grow appreciating the environment.
As a parent, you should be an example to your kids by spending time outside and practicing healthy routines. Encouraging kids and educating them on the benefits of playing outside will lay a strong foundation for their future health and success.