Think of just how much stuff your kids can do when let loose in the outside world. They can walk, run, jump, play hide-and-seek, race against each other – all the cool stuff that eventually become a collection of funny childhood stories and anecdotes when they grow up. Letting your kids spend time outdoors does more benefits than you can imagine (aside from, well, you’re having a ‘break’ from them).
In this generation, with the rapid advancement of technology, studies show kids spend more time looking at their phone and tablet screens than they do outside. Compared to past generations where children spend most of their childhood exploring their neighborhood, today’s generation tends to choose to stay at home – as long as they can watch their favorite cartoon and play the most hyped game on their mobiles. This gives off an impression that we are slowly becoming more inclined to trade our active lifestyles for lazier, sedentary ones.
While staying at home can keep them off the ‘outside danger,’ that too makes kids miss out on some important things that only an outdoor exposure can give. What are these benefits? Why should our kids spend more time outdoors?
Just like plants and other living organisms, human beings need nourishment that comes uniquely from the sun. An early morning walk and exposure to the sun can itself be very beneficial to your kid’s well-being. The warmth that the sun gives off energizes their body for the day’s activities. It also nourishes the skin and provides us with Vitamin D.
SHAPING THEIR YOUNG BONES AND MUSCLES
Playing outside gives the kids an opportunity to enhance their muscles and shape them without even trying. While engaging in outdoor activities, their muscles contract, flex, bend and stretch, and these give the muscles the exercise they need to fully develop. Outdoor activities also improve our kids’ body stature and bone strength because they actively use their whole bodies when playing.
DEVELOPING AND IMPROVING CARDIOVASCULAR STRENGTH
Some kids are unfortunately sickly, but it doesn’t mean that we should keep them from outside in the pretense of ‘protecting’ them – unless, of course, the kid’s illness requires them to stay indoors. Sometimes, taking our kids for a walk outside improves their cardiovascular strength, and in the long run, they might be able to overcome illnesses like asthma, pneumonia, and others. With proper practice and execution, we can help our kids train their bodies to become more resilient from these diseases.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO SOCIALIZE
Young as they are, kids generally need assurance, validation, a sense of security, a sense of companionship and belonging, a sense of pride, attention. Especially when you are a working parent, there is a good chance that your kids may not be getting just the right amount of these things from you, and they will have to look for it in the outside world. Letting kids socialize helps them develop an awareness of their own emotions and that of others. It helps them understand how the world works by immersing in it firsthand. Your job as a parent is to simply guide and correct them along the way.
DISCOVERING THE WORLD THROUGH THEIR OWN PERSPECTIVE
A child’s perspective is unique in the sense that it is not yet corrupted or influenced. When the child is truly immersed outdoors, he/she sees the world through his/her unique lens, which is where imagination and creativity begin. It is a whole different experience when you let the kids go off on their own and discover things outdoors rather than just letting them watch educational videos on YouTube or Discovery Channel (which are totally fine, by the way). Kids spending more time outdoors could facilitate their own concept of reality by experiencing the world.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH MOTHER EARTH
Kids become more aware that the world actually exists because they can see and experience it around them. When exposed outdoors, kids develop this certain kind of appreciation of the world. When kids appreciate the world, they become more caring and more gentle to other people and other living creatures in this world. How adorable could it be if all kids turn out falling in love with the Earth at a very young age?