Get Children Outdoors in All Kinds of Weather
Thanks to technology, families in many parts of the world are living in increasing comfort. But this is not necessarily a good thing. Our children are becoming indoor citizens. Many get into the car from their indoor basement or garage, often emerging into a covered parking building or driveway at the other end of the journey. Our children are becoming over-protected.
With many homes and buildings having air-conditioning, some children have little experience of differing temperatures. Many children are playing inside more than outdoors and lose the benefits of fresh air and weather change. Their climate is controlled at a comfortable level and the clothes they wear reflect this. They no longer need to wrap up warm to protect them from the cold, or wear appropriate footwear so their feet don’t get wet.
By staying inside in this controlled, comfortable temperature children lose their natural immunity to weather. They become reliant on technology to keep them happy. Then, when they do go outside and get slightly cold or wet, their body has trouble coping and they get sick more quickly than children who are used to playing in the outdoors. Parents are not acting in the best interests of their children by doing this. Children are adaptable and can cope with temperature change. We need to stop over-protecting our children.
Parents have a responsibility to ensure children get outdoors more to experience natural temperatures. This doesn’t mean in extreme weather, simply let them participate in everyday experiences for more than a few minutes at a time. Let children play outside and enjoy wind in their face and their hair blowing in all directions. Put on their coats and boots and let them splash through puddles in the rain. Let them understand the heat of the sun and how to seek shade when necessary. Let them feel the tingling cold from playing in the snow, knowing they will appreciate the warmth more when they come inside.
Another aspect of being outdoors in the fresh air and weather is the development of a whole range of language and vocabulary they may not otherwise have had. When children are over-protected indoors, they are in danger of losing the ability to describe their feelings about having cold or wet feet, or about raindrops dripping from the end of their nose. How can children talk of pleasure or displeasure at being in the sun, rain, wind or snow if they don’t experience it first hand?
Parents have the responsibility of preparing children for the world ahead of them. Although technology will play a major part in this world, the weather and climate change will still be there outside. It is up to parents to make sure children get outdoors when they can. It’s not only lots of fun, but produces a healthier child. Why not make the move today by taking your children for a walk in the park, or simple kick a ball around with them outside. Help children get outdoors and experience the real temperatures and weather.
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