Outdoors with Children

Children born today are forecast to live shorter lives than their parents.

It’s a very sad statement about lifestyle choices and what we are doing to the newest generation. In 2005 the life expectancy went down for the first time.  We have every opportunity to live long and healthy lives and yet we as a society continue to make poor choices. The result being one out of 4 preschoolers being overweight and children being prescribed high cholesterol medication. This terrible situation makes our role as mentors and teachers even more important.

On Earth Day one of the women from HOW shared the new saying; “Green not Screen”  A simple reminder to turn off the TV and computer and go outside. One of my rules when I did Daycare was that we went outside everyday. No matter what the weather was we put on snowsuits, raincoats, swimsuits and went out to breathe some fresh air and use our outdoor feet and voices.  It was an important part of our day and something that set us apart from most other daycares. Do you know how long it takes to get 10 little ones into snowsuits and boots?  But they learned independence and they learned that going outdoors was all worth it.

I know that today it’s not always considered safe to go outside. Especially for children alone. That’s where we can make a difference. By being a presence outside we can help make it safe for children to come out and play.
Perhaps we could work with our communities to set up volunteers at the local parks like the “playground supervisors” at schools.  Safe hours set aside with adult supervision. Just one idea, there must be many more.

For Mother’s Day this weekend take a child outdoors to play with you.  If you don’t have young children or grandchildren of your own invite a neighbor child. Introduce them to fresh air and outdoor voices proclaiming how good it feels to run and have the sun on your face. Instill in them the wonder of the natural world. Help them experience dirt and trees and water. Plant a small seed in their imagination and watch it grow. If we are going to change their lives we need to change their experiences. Let’s not leave them to a life indoors.

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