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Meghan Ham

How Many Hours A Day Do Kids Need To Be Outside?

How Many Hours A Day Do Kids Need To Be Outside?

As parents, when we compare the life of our kids with our childhood, we can see a huge difference in outdoor activities. In the past, kids were more attracted to outdoor activities than today. It raises many concerns among parents, and one of the most important to be addressed is how many hours a day kids need to be outside.

Here, we will be answering it along with the proper reasoning behind it.

How many hours a day do kids need to be outside?

Different individuals have different answers to this, as some say that at least 30 minutes of outdoor activity is essential. In contrast, others say that up to 6 hours of outdoor activity is good. Technically, the time from 90 minutes to 180 minutes will act as a sweet spot for the time of daily outdoor activity for kids of all ages.

However, things can vary from kid to kid, but the maximum time of daily outdoor activities could be around 6 hours. For the minimum limit, it is a good idea to let your kids play outside for around 1 and a half hours. Thus, your kids will have enough time to interact with the outdoor world and nature and, most importantly, get enough intake of sunlight.

Are there any benefits of spending this much time outdoors?

Spending 1-6 hours a day outdoors is a lot of time for a kid. That's why many people are concerned if there are any benefits to doing this. Yes, there are benefits, and there are many of them. Some of the best benefits of spending time outdoors are explained below.

Improved physical and mental health

The first positive impact of outdoor activities on your kids is that their physical and mental health improves. When a kid participates in outdoor activities and games, he can be more physically active than in an indoor environment.

It is where a lot of physical health benefits come from. Similarly, mental health improves due to the integration with nature and natural outdoor light. These are so efficient in reducing stress and anxiety.

Better social development

The next benefit of being outside is better social development. Kids that stay most of the time lack basic communication skills indoors and are not that aware of behaviors and decision-making. Exposure to the outdoor environment makes children interact with new people, things, feelings, and challenges. Thus, the overall social development of your kid gets better.

Social development is not only about communication, but it also brings qualities like organizational skills, cooperation, and teamwork.

Opportunity to learn more

Another amazing benefit of spending time outdoor is that kids get to learn more. This learning can be about their self-esteem, self-respect, behavior, senses, feelings, and all other aspects of life. The learning is also about a kid's physical skills and athletic abilities that may get better with proper exposure to the outdoor world.

If a kid stays at home most of the time and doesn’t spend any time outdoor, there may not be a lot of such learning opportunities.

How can you make your kids spend more time outside?

Making kids spend more time outside is one of the hardest things for parents. It is because most kids feel like they are being dragged as they do not have any interest in outdoor activities. So, here are a few tips on how you can make your kids spend more time outside.

Reduce their screen time strategically

The first thing that you can try is to reduce the screen time your kids strategically. If you analyze your kids, you will note that they are mostly in front of some screen when they are at home, and some of those screens are:

  • Smartphone
  • Tablet
  • Computer/Laptop
  • Gaming consoles
  • TV

Restrict the screen time strategically and tell your kid that he can do anything but being in front of a screen after completing the time limit. It may make them attracted to exploring outdoor activities.

Introduce them to newer games and activities

One of the most effective things you can try is introducing your kids to newer games. For example, if your son doesn't know about skating, you can teach him, and you will see him taking an interest in that. The same goes true for many other outdoor activities, even including sports.

Interact with your kids as much as possible

Asking your kids to spend more time outdoors and not interacting with them may make them lose interest. So, you need to participate in these activities with your kids. You can go cycling together or play soccer together in your backyard. Just look for opportunities to interact more, as this may be one of the most effective ways to get them attracted to outdoor activities.

Set performance-based rewards for your kids

The last thing that you can do is to set performance-based rewards. The options are limitless here as the reward can be their favorite snack or a dinner at their favorite restaurant. Just see what your kids like only get occasionally. You can use that as a reward, which will be very effective in most cases.

Is spending too much time outside good?

No, there are a lot of things that can go wrong if your kid spends too much time outdoors. First, it is essential to maintain a balance between outdoor and indoor life. Secondly, your kid may develop bad habits depending on their interests and social circle. So, if you want to keep your kids safe, you must make an outside schedule that your kids have to follow.

Final Verdict:

In this digital age, it is difficult for a parent to convince a child to spend some time outdoors. It is because of how fascinating and attractive technology has become. Remember that it is not going to happen in an instant as it is a gradual process to make your kids attracted to outdoor activities. Regardless, you must give your kids some outdoor time daily to help them enjoy all the benefits of outdoor activities.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

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