With it being the time of year here where temps are finally starting to creep into the 50’s we are DYING to get outside and and get some fresh air. Let me tell you, my mood is suffering. FOR REAL. And if my mood is suffering, so are my kids. We are encouraging you to get over these cold weather blues and get outside! Here is why!
Why outside: care.com
1) Improves Vision
A study published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that kids who spend time playing outside are at a reduced risk of developing nearsightedness. The team of researchers found that a child's chances of developing myopia (nearsidedness) dropped by two percent for each additional hour spent outdoors, per week.
2) Promotes Social Skills
Specifically on the playground- You have to take turns on the slide and play take ect.
The University of Missouri-Kansas' School of Education found that outdoor play strengthens the language and communication interactions between young children who play together at the park.
3) Increases Attention Span
-Kids who play outside are more investigative
An estimated 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies have shown that green outdoor settings appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children, which includes the exposure they get to natural settings like parks and beaches through after-school and weekend activities. Overall, it's becoming increasingly more apparent that these types of outdoor activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children.
4) Reduces Stress
Being outside is a stress relief -it’s relaxing are recharging for kids as well as parents!
In 2014, researchers from the University of Colorado teamed up with educators from Maryland and Colorado to study the effects that green schoolyards had on children's stress levels and resilience. They made the argument that increasing children's exposure to green outdoor spaces (e.g., lush playgrounds) could help decrease children's' stress levels by offering them an escape from life's daily routine. The study said that kids who play outside found "peace away from stresses in the classroom and daily life.”
5) Increases Vitamin D Levels
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that vitamin D offers us several health benefits, such as strengthening bone health and helping to prevent diabetes and heart disease. In order to stave off vitamin D deficiencies in children, the Cleveland Clinic strongly urges parents and child care providers to make sure that their kids receive a healthy dose of the nutrient starting at birth. There are vitamin D supplements that you can take, but you can also get it through a free and natural version: sunlight.
Allow your kids to play outside for a few minutes without sunscreen. (Although sunscreen is extremely useful for blocking out harmful ultraviolet rays that can cause cancer, it's also prevents vitamin D from getting absorbed into the skin.) Then, slather on the lotion.
Of course, if your child burns easily, you should absolutely use the sunscreen -- just make sure to increase your child's intake of vitamin D-heavy foods and supplements. Consult your pediatrician to find the best option for your child.
How to get them outdoors: (active for life is where I found a lot of these)
1. Tell your kids it’s ok to get messy, wet and dirty outside.
2. Limit screen time and warn them when it’s up they have to go outside.
3. Go outside and play with them
4. Set up and outdoor kid friendly play space
5. Have an outdoor play date with other kids. Or even organize a weekly play group.
6. Go for regular walks as a family
7. Have activities planned for kids when they do go outside which leads us to...
Things to do: some of these are no brainers and you can reference our episode 50 fun things to do this summer with your kids episode 19
“Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls” - Erin Kenny
“When I was a kid my social network was called outside”