Academic research suggests that outdoor playtime for children is “essential to their healthy growth and progress, particularly during periods of rapid brain development.” Unfortunately, today’s kids are not spending enough time outdoors.
The Dirt is Good campaign conducted a study and came up with some troublesome results. They found that on average, one third of children play outside for 30 minutes or less, and 18 percent of British children spend no time outside on a typical day. Additionally, three quarters of British children would rather play virtual sports games than actual sports.
So, how can you as a parent remedy this? Parents live busy lives with tight budgets, so watching your children play at the park or signing them up for a sports league may not always be an option. But here are a couple of tips that can help you get your child active.
Take advantage of weekends and holidays.
You are probably exhausted when you come home from work, which makes taking your child to the park or going on a bike ride with them difficult. That being said, make sure to have some fun in the sun with your kids when you aren’t tired — on days you do not have work. Even though weekends and holidays can get hectic, make it a point to take an hour out of your day to take your children swimming, to the park, or even just throw a ball around in your own backyard.
Utilize free resources.
News flash: life is expensive. Staying active sounds daunting when you look up the prices of gyms or little leagues in your area, but there are much cheaper alternative options as well. Neighborhoods and schools are crawling with parks, so take your children on walks to your closest park and give them a fun, healthy afternoon without spending a dime. The same goes for neighborhood pools. If your neighborhoods does not have a pool, you can typically spend the day at a city pool for a relatively cheap price.
Just remember that the next time your torn between taking your child with you to walk the dog or letting them stay in to watch cartoons, playing outside is much more than just a pastime.