We are living in the age of smartphones, tablets, and internet. At a very early age (and I mean really early), children find themselves browsing through YouTube videos and kids’ apps.
All these technological hypes have become a part of their growth. The days of heading outdoors with bikes and fooling around in the neighborhood are near to extinction.
It’s found that the majority of the children these days are more interested to stay back home. Strolling under the sun and getting some fresh air is a “no-go” for them.
Well if your children are also the active representatives of this “indoor generation”, think again. There is a lot you and your kids are missing.
The Physical Aspects
It’s found that every one out of three kids in the United States is currently suffering from obesity. Why? Because most of them love to stay indoors.
They’re stuck with their smartphones, tabs, and TVs while having a bite of pizza and high sugar beverages. With no physical activities whatsoever, this is a “perfect” remedy for gaining extra weight.
This can lead to all kinds of troubles including diabetes, heart disease and lack of stamina. Outdoor kids don’t have to worry about any of that.
While they roam around on their cycles or enjoy an exciting game of “fetch and run” with their pet dog in the backyard, their muscles are getting enough action.
Outdoor activities help your kid develop better hand and eye coordination & motor skills. The extra calories they are taking in through those burgers and pizzas are also being burnt off.
So overall, heading outdoor and having a good time with friends is an excellent way to stay fit and healthy. Not to mention all the actual socialization that’s coming along while playing with friends.
The Emotional Aspects
Researchers have found that playing outdoors also helps children to grow emotionally. While playing with other kids, children tend to express their thoughts in different ways.
They also tend to learn more about other kids and begin to develop a strong bond with them. This enriches them emotionally.
Instead of hanging around with virtual friends, outdoor kids have “real” friends to spend time with. Love, affection, caring, sharing and expressing their thoughts clearly becomes a part of life like the way it should be.
The Social Aspects
This is very much interrelated with the emotional aspects. While playing outdoors, your child is interacting with other kids. It allows them to interact with all kinds of people.
You will also get a chance to train your kid how to behave while meeting with new kids and their parents. At the same time, children can learn about the values of being a part of the community.
It is found that staying indoors all the time deprives a child from developing these social skills. While they’re too busy with Dora the explorer, they are missing out on the opportunity to interact with actual people.
This can lead to all kinds of problems in the long run. Lack of interpersonal and social skills can leave them behind.
Often indoor kids tend to share less with others. This will prevent them from understanding the importance of cooperation and collaboration.
The Mental Aspects
Playing outdoors is not all about running and screaming. While playing outside, kids naturally grow certain skills like critical thinking and innovation.
For instance, if your kid is playing soccer with friends, he obviously needs to think about dribbling his opponents. He needs to understand when to pass and not pass the ball.
While roaming around the neighborhood with their cycle, kids learn to navigate. They understand the basic rules of traveling through the roads and apply it for real.
Interacting with other kids will also enable your child to express their thoughts. Sometimes they’ll have to negotiate, stand up for themselves.
These are all important skills to shape your child for the future. Psychologists have closely observed the development of kids who spend most of their times outdoors and indoors.
They concluded that outdoor kids develop far better negotiation skills. They also develop the ability to think innovatively more than their indoor counterparts.
What to Do to Get Your Child Outdoors?
If you want your kid to have a better, productive time outdoors, there are lots of options in hand.
Get Them a Pet
I’ll personally suggest going for a pet dog. Particularly a breed that loves (and needs) outdoor activities like a Siberian Husky or a German Shepherd.
Encourage your child to accompany them to the backyard and play.
Buy a Bicycle or Hoverboard
You can also go for a cycle or hoverboard that your kid will simply love to play outdoors with. There are various types of hoverboards and cycles available in the market for kids from different age groups.
You can check different models online and choose the right one for your kid. There are many designed for both male and female children. So you have lots of options to pick from.
Join your Kid Outdoors
These days we’re all too busy with work and everything. But for the best interest of your kids, you need to make some time.
Encourage them to join you for different kinds of activities like cycling, jogging and so on. You don’t have to spend long hours out. Even if it’s just for half an hour daily, this shall work.
It has been proven again and again through careful scientific studies that children engaging outdoors is essential for their growth. In the long run, this will surely benefit them physically, psychologically, socially and emotionally.
While the use of technology is indeed an important part of our lives, this should not deprive our kids of all the goodness that comes from the “old school” outdoor activities.
However, all the outdoor activities should be monitored by grownups carefully. This will prevent kids from getting entangled with unwanted perils.
Shawn is a content writer at FeedFond. He’s a doting father not only to his two children but also to his two Golden Retrievers.