We've all seen them. A ghostly pale child sitting in the buggy of a shopping cart staring blankly at a device while the parents try to get the evening shopping done ASAP. We get it, parenting is hard. Sometimes, handing a bright screen over with the latest cartoon fixation feels like the only way to keep a modest amount of sanity in a public place. Many of you already know of the negative effects that all the screen time and time indoors are having on children. So despite how hard it is, it’s important to find the time and make a plan to go outside. Here’s why:
Being Outdoors Helps Kids Grow Big and Strong
Being active is an important part of a child's health and development. Being physically active helps children develop motor function and muscle required during this stage of rapid growth. By starting them young, it sets a strong foundation for healthy adulthood later. According to Statistics Canada, only one-third of Canadian children are meeting the minimum requirement of daily physical activity. That's a shocking statistic! One study found that when a child played outside for an hour, it meant 7 extra minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on top of that. They also discovered that children who play outdoors are more likely to have better relationships with their peers. This is because...
Children who Play Outdoors Learn Important Problem-Solving Skills
A UBC lecturer believes that being outdoors helps children of all ages learn better, and he’s not the only one. Many researchers have studied the positive effects of outdoor play on children and have come to similar conclusions. For one, they gain more knowledge about the sports and activities they enjoy. It also allows them to work on their problem solving and observation skills, as well as develop motor skills and risk assessment. They'll learn about environmental factors like what the temperature outside is and how they'll need to dress for it. Physical activity is a vital part of a child's development and can help children expel the energy that gets pent up when they sit watching TV or in a classroom. By being more active, children pay better attention when it comes time to sit down and listen in class.
Lead by Example — It’s Time to Get the Family Outdoors
So we know that getting our kids outside is good for them — and it's not just kids who need to stay active. It can be hard to find the time though, we understand. Between working and keeping the house running and tummies full, when do you have the time? Instead of a gym, try running with your child to the local playground for a bit of fun after work. Or get in touch with your inner child — playing tag, grounders, and other such games are great for quality family time and exercise for the family. There are many outdoor activities for kids, which parents can also participate. In fact, when your child has to work hard to try and keep up with mom or dad, it can help them to push themselves as well.
Biking is one of our favourite outdoor activities for kids (if that wasn't clear already!). At a young age, a child bike seat can allow a child to go on longer adventures with the family. Learning the feeling of a bike early on can help a child develop the skills to be on a balance bike in no time and soon their very own pedal bike. This ability to develop skills provides a child with the chance to physically progress at something that'll have positive lifelong effects on their physical, emotional and mental health. Being able to go biking with friends will help them to meet their recommended daily activity requirements plus explore new environments that can teach them new lessons.
There are a lot of positive reasons to get your kids outdoors more. Get a child bike seat and pick a day each week that you can go adventuring as a family. Getting children excited about these outdoor adventures at a young age will help them fall in love with nature and the activities you love, too. You’ll set your family up for successful outdoor pursuits for years to come.