How to Get Your Kids to Play Outdoors (A)
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How to Get Your Kids to Play Outdoors (A)

Views: 281     Author: Bettaplay -Silvia     Publish Time: 2018-01-20      Origin: Site


How to Get Your Kids to Play Outdoors

Children use more technology in their daily lives than ever before. They also spend less time outdoors than ever before. Unfortunately, these things can be unhealthy for your child. Getting your kids to play outdoors will not only help them stay physically healthy, it's also been shown to increase their attention, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Outdoor play even helps kids do better in school! Encouraging outdoor play takes a little effort, but the rewards are worth it!

climbing nets and structures (9)

Establishing a Healthy Environment

1, Turn off technology. Children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using electronics and media such as TV, cell phones, computers, and video games. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids and teens should use media such as this for "no more than one or two hours per day."

You can limit tech consumption by establishing a "curfew" for media devices, such as requiring them to be shut off before bedtime. Setting up scheduled times when your children are allowed to use media and technology, such as a "video game hour," will help establish boundaries for proper use.

Have a small box or shelf for your child to put his or her cell phone in before they go outside. This will encourage them to be more mindful about where and when they use it, and will make it easier for you to make sure they're actually getting the quality outdoor time they need.

2, Model good tech consumption. You don't have to toss all your tech, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents create "screen-free" zones at home by taking actions such as turning off the TV at mealtimes and making sure that children's bedrooms don't have computers, TVs, or video games in them. If your children know there are other options for recreation than media consumption, they will be more likely to take advantage of them.

3, Create (or find) a kid-friendly outdoor space. If you have a backyard, you may need to spruce it up a little to make it fun for your kids to play in. Clear away overgrown brush and any poisonous plants and keep the yard mowed. Things such as swing-sets and sandboxes provide hours of fun.

If you live an urban area or don't have a yard, you still have options. find a safe, pleasant park or playground and make it a habit to take your kids there. You can even search the Internet for recommendations from people in your community. There are also online playground finders.

4, Get to know your neighbors. Studies have show that adults who feel a sense of community with their neighbors are likely to spend more time outdoors for recreation and exercise, and this carries over to their children too. Parents who know their neighbors are also more likely to feel safe letting their children play outdoors.

Getting to know your neighborhood can be particularly helpful if you don't have a suitable play area for your kids at your own home. In addition to the health benefits of outdoor play, allowing your kids to play at their friends' houses promotes social skills development, helps them learn teamwork, and relieves stress.

Plastic Playground Equipment Slide

Promoting Healthy Attitudes toward Outdoor Play

1, Model good outdoor behavior. You may not have time to play every day with your children, but especially if your family is new to spending time outdoors it will help your kids to know their parents are actively involved. Short hikes, excursions to the local park, and geocaching are all family-friendly activities that help your kids understand that spending time outdoors isn't only healthy, it's fun!

If you live in a safe, walkable neighborhood, encourage your kids (and yourself!) to get exercise by walking to places like the library or school.

2, Establish ground rules. The National Wildlife Federation recommends that you provide a daily "Green Hour" for your children: one hour daily of unstructured outdoor play. Make this time a part of your children's daily schedule. It may not be easy at first, but creating the expectation that your kids will spend one hour every day playing outdoors will help them see it not as a punishment but part of their normal routine.

Be consistent. It may take your children awhile to get used to the idea of living without their cellphones and video games for an hour or two, but be patient and be consistent with them.

Engage your kids in conversation about what they did outdoors and ask what they liked best. This will show them that you're interested in their activities (and help you make sure they're staying active and staying safe!).

3, Expect some resistance. Your children may not want to go outdoors initially, particularly if it hasn't been part of their lifestyle before. You may need to be firm with them in enforcing a "Green Hour," especially at first. Make it clear that this is part of their schedule, and don't give in to complaints.

If your children are reluctant to play outdoors, you could try motivating outdoor play by offering a trade: if they spend an hour playing outside, they can earn some TV or video game time. The more they play outdoors, the more likely they are to discover they actually enjoy it!

If the neighborhood is safe for walking or biking, send your kids on an errand. Having a specific goal to achieve may help them get used to spending time outdoors and will give them a feeling of accomplishment.

Create challenges. Get your kids outdoors by giving them specific challenges, such as a scavenger hunt or "Survivor"-themed games like a relay race or balance activity. This type of structure will help them figure out how to play outdoors. Adding a reward, such as media time or release from chores, will make your kids even more motivated to head outdoors.

4, Accept the mess. If your kids play outdoors, they will probably end up sweaty and dirty, and they need to know that that's okay. In fact, studies suggest that getting dirty can strengthen children's immune systems! Give them some "play clothes" that it's all right to get filthy, and teach them how to clean up after themselves.

5, Teach your kids things to do outdoors. If your kids have spent more time with a Playstation than a playhouse, they not even be sure of what their options for outdoor entertainment are. Teaching them how to do things like make daisy chains, jump rope, build snow forts, and collect fireflies will help them see the outdoors as full of fun possibilities in every season.

Many nature organizations have websites with lists of activities. You can find a variety of fun ideas just by doing a few quick searches.

You may also want to look for local classes to learn new skills at nature centers, museums, after-school projects, community centers, and more.

To be continued

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 Ms. Katie Zhang
 Yangwan Industrial Area,Qiaoxia Town,Yongjia County, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China (Mainland)


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