What Are We Telling Our Kids?
We all know that children are full of energy and always ready to go. While parents need coffee before they are able to function in the morning, kids jump out of bed wanting to play (especially on weekends, breaks, and vacations)!
And then, even after what we parents would consider an active day and we’re wanting to wind down after dinner and then go to bed, our kids don’t seem the least bit sleepy and want to head back outdoors.
And because we’re exhausted, we end up telling our kids “No, you can’t play outside right now.” And with all of the errands we need to run on the weekends, we again tell our kids “No, you can’t play outside right now.”
In the summer, we claim it’s too hot to play outside, and in the winter, we declare it’s too cold. And during the school year, there’s so much emphasis on completing homework that parents forget that one of the most valuable parts of a child’s life is playtime, and again tell their kids “No, you cannot play outside right now.”
Our kids understand the message we’re sending them, even if we don’t realize it ourselves: We don’t want them playing outside.
The effects of this message are overwhelming. We’re no longer encouraging our kids to be active. We’re no longer encouraging them to interact with nature. We’re no longer encouraging them to say hello to our neighbors. We’re no longer encouraging them to challenge themselves.
Instead, we’re encouraging our kids to spend their lives indoors, in air-conditioning, with their noses in a textbook. If only we took the time to consider all of the benefits of sending our kids outdoors to play, even if only for an hour!
- Playing is a natural, fun way for your child to exercise, and leads to better sleep at night.
- Playing provides an opportunity to learn physical skills. For example, monkey bars, swings, and climbers teach balance.
- Playing outside gives children natural exposure to vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D increases bone strength, and can decrease the risk for broken bones.
Because playing outdoors is such a crucial part of childhood, we want to share with other parents ways you can encourage your children to be active, no matter time of year. Since play equipment is often a significant investment, we’ll be reviewing the most popular ones in several categories. We hope our reviews will help other parents decide whether a particular product is a good fit for their child, their backyard, and their budget.
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