Liberate Kids From tyranny of Indoors
Do you want your child to be physically strong? Lean and fit? Have a good imagination? Be able to focus and attend to things?
The single best thing you can do to gain these benefits and many others is to get your child outdoors.
Children today spend half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago.
In some cases that’s no more than seven minutes a day, as opposed to seven to 10 hours staring at screens.
Author Dr. Scott Sampson (“How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature) characterizes the plight of today’s children as living “under house arrest” following a “mass migration indoors.”
Kids are subject to too much screen time, busy schedules and overprotectiveness, he writes.
Meanwhile, childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed along with diabetes and high blood pressure.
This may be the first generation in U.S. history with a shorter life expectancy than their parents’ generation.
Children’s self-esteem and mental health have suffered.
Overall, they are less creative, have fewer social skills and have more difficulty concentrating.
Connecting with nature – and all outdoors – is a first good step toward reversing these trends.
And getting outdoors is easy. Walk to your backyard or go to a park or a playground as often as you can.
How often? Daily would be ideal.
All you need are a few simple things to make your backyard a wonderful place to be and to learn:
• Old spoons or little shovels
• Old kitchen bowls and cups
• Water – bucket, sprinkler, hose, little pool (supervision required)
• Old bed-sheets to make tents or lean-tos
• A flashlight
• A blanket or pad to sit or lie down on
• A ball
• An umbrella
• Anything else you would like
Also, you can move activities normally done indoors to the outdoors:
• Eating – snacks and meals—(breakfast with the birds)
• Legos or building blocks
• Painting, coloring, drawing and other crafts – outdoors is a great place for glitter!
Dr. Lesley Iwinski is the mother of three grown children, a family physician and Executive Director of The Parent and Family Enrichment Center, Inc. and Growing Peaceful Families.
She offers classes, workshops and seminars. Info: (859) 333-3053 or www.GrowingPeacefulFamilies.com.