• Heather Pawelkiewicz

Get Your Children Outside...It's Good for Their Health

toddler playing outside
Encourage outside play in your child.

Summer is in full swing. The temperature is rising, the community pools are open, and the roads are full of vacationers with their minivans packed to full capacity. Next to the winter holiday, this is the most wonderful time of the year. A break from the usual routine of packing school lunches, arguing over homework, and debating with your four year-old on why she cannot wear the pink plastic Sleeping Beauty shoes to pre-k. So, with all of this "extra" time during summer, what is your little one doing?

It's easy to turn on the television, tablet or smart phone in the morning for your child as you prepare for the day, but try to limit their screen time and opt for outside activities instead. An article on Web MD, The Power of Play: How Time Outside Helps Kids, is recommending just that. According to the article, the more outside play in which your child engages, the lower their stress level. There are a number of skills children can learn when participating in outside play, that cannot be replicated by a screen. Playing outside can nurture your child's executive functioning and social language skills.

Child psychologist, Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, offers some ideas on how parents can increase meaningful playtime with their child:

1. Ditch the device - monitor and decrease screen time. Screens are passive play for children.

2. Solo-play is a point - be sure your child is getting enough interaction with other children.

3. Embrace unstructured playtime - don't choreograph your child's activities, let them figure out things for themselves.

4. The play's the thing - "Play is important and valuable, in and of itself," Kennedy-Moore says, "even if it doesn't always encourage development every time. Play is like art -- to be appreciated."

In other words, go back to the basics. Let children enjoy a game of tag where they are negotiating the rules with friends, engage in a sport, pretend play in a makeshift clubhouse, and just wander the midst of nature. Participate in play by commenting and asking your child questions, but not necessarily giving them all the answers; allow them to problem-solve.

The Our First Year infant backpack and toddler tote contain developmental toys that are perfect for indoor or outdoor play. Increase your child's developmental skills with some outside play's all in the bag!

#outsideplay #webmd #childdevelopment #languageskills #executiveskills

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