The advent of new technology has seen fewer children engaging in outdoor activities. Inventions such as video games, social media and the internet at large has got children glued to screens, in turn making outside play seem like a chore.
With platforms such as YouTube, children have access to information through videos that teach them almost everything- from how to count to how to tie their shoes. As much as it has its advantages, screen learning is not the best way to let your child grow because it also comes with disadvantages like addiction and exposure to violent media content. Hence, it is important to limit your child’s screen time and let them wander off.
Here are some reasons why you should encourage your child to play outside more;
Keeps them active
Physical activity is a crucial stage in childhood development as it makes them strong and active as it gives your child the platform to run around and exercise their bones. This helps maintain their health, wellbeing and keeps their immunity strong. It also helps keep them fit and reduces risks of illnesses that are caused by inactivity.
Encouraging your child to engage in outside play will also improve their morale and motivation removing room for laziness.
Makes them solution-oriented
Children encounter challenges and obstacles in their day-to-day plays and together find ways to solve them and jump the hurdles. Some parents tend to be afraid of their child getting hurt and eventually end up becoming overprotective of them. Outdoor activities, however, push them to be more responsible and careful by exposing them to circumstances that require them to find their way out of while also promoting teamwork. It is okay to let loose sometimes and trust that they will take care of themselves. This is how they learn to handle tough situations.
Makes them more accepting of others.
Playing outside is the best way to help a child understand that people differ from each other in various ways- from individual ways of thinking, to different cultures and beliefs and even mode of dressing. Interaction with other children opens their minds to many ideas and probabilities, away from influence of their families. They become more accepting of individual differences and this keeps them open-minded and understanding. This also improves their empathetic skills as they become less judgemental.
Improves speech development
When children play together, it is easier for them to pick up and learn new words from interacting with their peers. Staying indoors delays speech as a child experiences difficulty in comprehending difficult words sometimes used by adults. Conversing with other children also motivates them to want to learn more as they take pride in knowing something that others do not. This in turn improves their confidence when speaking as they will be around those with the same level of speech delivery skills hence do not feel intimidated.
Helps them learn new skills
Going outside allows your child to make friends they can learn from. Children love to talk about new things they discovered or skills they learnt. This allows for them to demonstrate to one another how to perform various activities and in the process improve their skills while also picking up new ones from other children. It provides a space for peer-based learning which is very important in development.
Forms lasting connections
The term ‘childhood friend’ has been used to define relationships that have lasted since a young age. Encouraging your child to play with other children teaches them how to build and maintain relationships. This is where they learn how to share through playing with the same toys, and also how to be kind to others. This stage affects their overall handling of relationships with everyone around them and helps build their character. Strong lasting connections have been formed from childhood friendships.
To sum it up, it is important to let your child play outside and ensure they do not fall victim to internet addiction. As much as you encourage it, monitor their friends and the characters they associate with. Ensure they are in good company and are developing the right skills by asking them to be open about their activities. You might be worried about the exposure your child is getting but you should let them learn through letting them explore on their own while providing guidance.
Featured image: Football Triangle