Children are Spending Too Much Time Indoors: Encourage Outdoor Play

father and son

People spend the majority of their entire lives indoors. At present, the amount of time spent under the sun has decreased significantly. They are more likely to watch a video on YouTube or play video games on their PlayStation 5 than be outdoors.

A recent study calculated the time children spend looking at a screen. If they use electronic devices for four hours a day on average, by the time they reach the age of seven, they would have been staring at a screen for the equivalent of 456 days.

For comparison, children on average spend over an hour and a half outdoors which is equivalent to 182 days.

While electronics are not inherently bad and young people need to be acquainted with technology which will help them better adjust with the present, there is a necessity for children to also spend time outdoors.

Create a Space to Play

Children should be encouraged to go outside and play or explore. People have an affinity with the natural environment which applies to kids, too. You would not have to convince them to go outdoors. They will willingly spend time outdoors, as long as there is a space for them to play.

Adding a deck has been proven to increase the time people spend outdoors. It also boosts family bonding among households that invest in it.

two kids playing

It is a feature that you can build on your own or hire a contractor to build it for you. Whichever option you decide to go with, remember to protect it from environmental elements such as the sun, rain, wind, and snow. Apply an epoxy coating on your deck. Life’s specialty coatings are widely available and suit all types of flooring, including wood and concrete. It is waterproof and can even reduce the heat being reflective which is perfect during summer.

Moreover, it should be a pleasant environment to hang out in. There should be outdoor furniture, an umbrella or awning, and, most importantly, flowers and trees.

Schedule Green Hours

Various studies have proven that spending time outdoors benefits children in various ways. They become physically stronger and leaner, lowering their risk of obesity. It also boosts their attention span, enhances their imagination, and improves their performance at school.

In addition, they become good stewards of the natural environment. They grow up with genuine love and a desire to protect the planet from destruction.

Experts in public health recommend that children have a green hour, an activity in which children play and spend time outdoors, specifically in a natural environment filled with vegetation. You do not have to shut your child outdoors to force them to have a green hour. You can, for example, choose to walk through a public park after school or stop by the playground before heading home. The family can also schedule a picnic or a fishing trip on weekends. The family can also go on an excursion to the zoo or go on a short hike up a nearby mountain. Any activity that will push children to be outdoors and in nature regularly is encouraged.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prescribe having a green hour regularly.

Plant a Garden

playing in the sandbox

Every household deserves to have a garden. Even if it is just a planter box on the windowsill, it can positively impact the well-being of your child. Previous studies have proven that children who grew up with a garden and participated in caring for it ate better, engaged in more physical activity, slept better, were less stressed, and more confident. Moreover, those who spent time in a garden exemplified improved focus and memory, had better analytical abilities, and even developed skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

In addition, gardening positively impacts mood. Seeing a plant you grew to start to flower, for example, can trigger happiness. The influence of gardening on mental well-being lasts for a long time, too. Even after you are no longer in the garden, you still reap the benefits from it.

Children should be invited and encouraged to cultivate and take care of the garden with the rest of the family. Starting early into their childhood will make them more likely to enjoy it and do it longer.

Children are spending more time indoors. They have multiple devices that connect them to the internet and an endless stream of entertainment. However, it is important for their growth and development to step out of the house and play and spend more time outdoors.

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