How often should children play outside?
Are there other mums out there who suffer from ‘I haven’t taken my child to the park today’ guilt?
For the first year of my now two-year-old’s life we lived in a flat with no garden so I made every effort to take my sweet one to the nearby parks and playgrounds. We have since moved to a flat with a garden, which my daughter loves, but I cannot escape the feeling that I need to take her for walks and plays.
According to a recent ‘census’ commissioned by growingupmilkinfo.com, a website for parents seeking information about toddler nutrition and the role of Growing Up Milk within a healthy, balanced diet, maybe not enough parents know how often should children play outside.
The Census was based on survey data gathered by Opinion Matters in July 2011 from over 1,000 mums and insight gathered from professionals in the field of toddler nutrition, child psychology, parenting and trends, underpinned with statistics on toddlers from a variety of sources including the National Diet and Nutrition Survey and the Infant and Toddler Forum.
The census revealed that British toddlers spend longer staring at a screen each day than they do eating their meals and more time in a car than at a children’s playground.
More time in a car than on a playground…
How often should children play outside? More than this! There is a book called Last Child In The Wood, written by child advocacy expert Richard Louv, that In directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.
It’s always scary reading things like the aforementioned; I don’t know about y’all but I feel the pressure to make sure that my child is exposed to the right amounts of that which will create a well-adjusted, healthy individual.
More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond (between child and nature) – and many are right in our own backyard.
Our own backyard…
Here’s what I do; I try and take my daughter out and about once a day – whether it’s for a walk down the road, a play in the park or a romp in the garden.
I let her touch bugs, stomp in puddles and fondle flowers. And a walk to school or the shop totally counts! If I can’t get out one day, I don’t beat myself up (or try not to – there is that guilt thing after all). I do my best and I hope that it’s good enough!
This is a public forum and we welcome your opinions. However, libelous and abusive comments are not permitted.