Outdoor Play Keeps the Doctor Away

Thursday, 16th April 2015 3:38 pm

Outdoor play should be an integral part of children’s lives, yet we currently have a generation of children who are missing out on fun, outdoor experiences that used to be part of our daily lives. As children now favour computer games and television over the forgotten arts of climbing a tree or building a den, we’re facing serious problems of inactivity and sedentary lifestyles.

Children spend nearly half the amount of time playing outside compared to previous generations. Streets buzzing with children of all ages playing football, skipping and tag are memories of the past.

Play has many effects that help to aid child development. It’s good for the brain, it can help children improve academically and it contributes to child well-being. Active, outdoor play needs to reclaim its place as the main thing that children think about when they finish school, rather than how many zombies they’re going to kill on their computer game.

So, what can we do to inspire a generation to put down their computer controllers and embrace the magical outdoors?

It Starts with the Parents

Parents need to understand that children not getting enough active play can have serious implications in later life. Concerns continue to grow about child obesity and although recent research has shown that child obesity rates in the UK are beginning to stabilise, we can still do a lot more.

Lead by Example

Discipline and leading by example can help influence children’s behaviours. Eating healthier food and sitting at the table can be a good start to get children back on a healthy track. Setting time allowances for them to play on computers will help to get children away from the TV screens; however this won’t work if they move from their computer to watching television with their parents.

There’s Always Time for Fun

More importantly, there’s always time for your children’s health. Yes, you may have a busy lifestyle and can’t always find time for things, but make it part of your routine. Start off by setting aside at least 30 minutes of one-on-one playtime at least once a week. In this time there’s no video games, no TV, no distractions, just pure and simple fun.

Embrace Your Inner Child

Get outside and play with your children. Take them to the playground. Kick a football around in the street with them. Show them how to climb a tree. You will be amazed how much you actually enjoy it yourself!