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The privilege of having a Screen-Free Childhood

What’s the most beautiful childhood memory etched in your mind, even after all these years of living as an adult? Isn’t it the splashing in rain puddles, exploring every little creek, attending parties, making trips to the playground and squelching mud between your toes? Our childhood experiences are invaluable, and most of us wouldn’t trade it, even for a sack of gold.

Captivated by mobile phones, video games, and magical web cartoons, children today prefer to stay indoors most of the time. In this technology-driven world, because of safety concerns or the latest addictive games that promised companionship and entertainment, we have restricted not just our children, but also ourselves from going beyond the confines of our homes.  

Why do children go crazy over video games? Because after a structured and tightly-scheduled academic curriculum at school, they find mobile games and web cartoons stress-free and are the best companions to relax without having to go out of their comfort zones. And as parents, we find this a safe method of keeping them occupied as they are under our supervision and the safety of our homes, after a hectic workday.

Isn’t this generation of children missing out on a very funny, exploratory and adventurous childhood that the previous generations had? Not just that, psychiatrists claim that restricting children to the indoors may result in isolation, depression and a greater chance of them becoming a victim to cyber-bullying.

Here are a few important benefits of creating a regular outdoor play environment for children.

#1 There are health benefits in the long-term

Nature in Okinawa and girl’s portrait

By being bound comfortably inside homes, children that lack fitness are prone to become obese and Vitamin-D deficient. Playing outdoors increases immunity by strengthening muscles, reducing the risk of diseases like obesity, heart problems, and promotes the overall development of the child’s health. 

Prolonged exposure to mobile phones, television or electronic gadgets may affect the kid’s vision. Engaging outdoors for longer will increase the child’s farsightedness due to pupil restriction in bright daylight. There are also parents who worry about their kids getting infected by germs in the environment. However, research shows that children are prone to microbes, germs, and diseases like Asthma when they are restricted inside a closed surrounding.

#2 Children can learn social skills

A lot of kids today are comfortable with networking or communicating over text messaging or social media platform, but aren’t getting along well in person. This is because they are not used to face-to-face social interactions. When they play with other kids of their age group, they pick up social skills to meet and greet new people, to make friends, to work together, to share and co-operate and above all, they get to understand the art of respecting people around.

#3 Outdoor play fuels creativity and intellectual thinking

Adorable baby girl sitting on play mat and playing toy at home

When children are let outdoors, rather than engaging in structured activities, they are free to play as they wish, and many times, invent their own games and rules. They also learn how to abide by the rules and being disciplined. They strive to win every game while putting in a lot of effort to move beyond their comfort zones. They also understand and innovate ways to tackle difficult situations, which fosters creativity. They become better decision-makers.

#4 Acquire better Motor skills

Outdoor games also promote better motor coordination for children. They acquire agility and better balance by playing outdoors getting along with all that is offered by nature. The list is never-ending. Exploring the natural phenomenon by sweating out in the hot sun or rolling in the mud offers a better engagement of all the senses and so letting the children play outdoors is a must. As parents, each one of us is responsible to ensure that the children are not glued to the television 24/7, but they enjoy the benefits and channel their energy in a meaningful way by playing outdoors.

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