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Meghan Ham

How much outdoor time should kids have?

How much outdoor time should kids have?

Many parents are curious whether their kids are spending enough time outdoors. We live in the electronics era, where kids spend most of their hours indoors. They watch TV, play video games, use mobile, etc.

With plenty of electronic devices around, kids spend an alarming time on-screen. According to a survey, the average time kids spend using electronic screens daily is more than 7 hours. Due to this, they spend very little time outdoors. This practice is ultimately impacting their experience of learning, making friends, and appreciating nature.

How much outdoor time should your kids have?

As a parent, you must understand that spending some time outdoors regularly is important for your kids. It will help you balance your kids' day and offer them various physical and mental health benefits.

However, how much outdoor time is enough for your kids is something that most parents don't know. Here we have some expert suggestions for you to consider in this regard:

  • The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) advised parents to make their kids spend at least one hour every day outdoors. Outdoor playtime is ideal for indulging them in adequate physical activity.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics suggests kids should have at least an hour per day to relax, unwind, and indulge in creative outdoor plays. This practice is vital for their mental health, growth, and social development.
  • Moreover, Be Out There Campaign of the National Wildlife Federation emphasizes the importance of kids staying connected and appreciating nature. They recommend that parents should aim to make their kids spend about an hour of activity in natural outdoor settings.

In conclusion, making your kids spend at least 60 minutes per day in outdoor settings is important.

Why do kids need to spend more time outdoors?

Regardless of the weather, spending time outdoors is necessary for kids. Scientific evidence shows that spending time outdoors can improve their health in numerous ways. Getting outside is more than just fun for your kids. Let's look at some important reasons below to understand why kids need to spend more time outdoors.

So, here we go;

  • More time playing outdoors in kids means better motor development and a reduced rate of obesity. Getting out in the sun can also let their bodies make vitamin D necessary to stay strong and healthy.
  • Spending time outdoors can promote creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking in kids. Moreover, kids spending time in nature results in improved learning.
  • Moreover, kids with more time in natural settings have less aggression and anger. It can also improve their impulse control.
  • Kids spending more time outdoors usually experience improved focus and reduced ADHD symptoms.
  • Playing outdoors can also help children to learn how to socialize. They learn how to make friends and treat others well.

Tips to encourage your kids to spend more time outdoors

Making your kids outdoors isn't only important for vitamin D and their learning, socialization, and better physical and mental health. That’s why it has become necessary for parents to determine how to encourage their kids to spend more time outdoors.

Here are some effective tips that you must consider in this regard.

So, here we go:

1. Create some creative and exciting play spaces for your kids

One of the most efficient ways to ensure your kids spend more time outdoors is by making your backyard or other outdoor spaces more appealing. It means investing in a play structure, installing a climbing wall, or setting up carnival games.

Keep your kid's interests in mind while getting creative with outdoor spaces. This practice will certainly make them more interested in outdoor play.

2. Make them interested in bird watching.

Another good step can be to make your kids interested in wildlife or bird watching. Incorporate different sources to let them learn about their favorite species, habitat, sound, and more. Then take them outdoors for bird watching in the backyard, local parks, or other outdoor spaces to boost their interest.

3. Indulge them in gardening.

Getting your kids involved in gardening is always an amazing way to make them spend time outdoors. You can start gardening in your backyard and teach your kids where the food comes from. Teach your kids how to take care of their plantations and grow their favorite food ingredients themselves.

You can plant a vegetable garden or a flower bed based on what works for your space. Prefer growing easy things first to pique their interest.

4. Invite their friends to join.

More often, kids are more excited and willing to go out and play if their friends are there. So, another best way to encourage your kids to spend more time outdoors is to invite their best buddies to join you. You can also plan to invite one of your kids’ friend and their family at least once or twice a month. Ask their parents if they are up for a group camping, hike, beach day, or anything else.

In this case, you don't necessarily need to plan daily activities. It is because when kids are out with their friends, they naturally find some amazing things to do. The creativity will automatically start to shine.

5. Develop the habit in your kids consistently.

Whenever possible, walk with your kids a short distance rather than driving. Opt for this whenever possible. Besides that, also manage to have an outdoor playdate with your kids at least every weekend. Make your friends with kids join you, especially those your kids are comfortable with.

All these practices will eventually help your kids habitual of spending more time outdoors.

Final Thoughts

Kids usually have various reasons to stay indoors between tablets, consoles, TV, phones, and more. On the other hand, kids have fewer reasons to leave their screens and indulge in outdoor activities.

Even for parents, it has become harder to encourage their kids to put their screens down and go outdoors. However, the above-mentioned tips will help you encourage your kids to spend at least an hour outdoors.


Image by Vivian 郑 from Pixabay 

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