Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fifteen Minutes Outside: The Challenge

I have always understood the importance of children being outside on a daily basis. When I was young, my parents would not let us come inside for a while so that we would get out fill of being outdoors. Somedays I hated it, but now I am very grateful for it. I wanted to do a similar thing with my children. Before we moved to this new house, we did not have a yard to play outside. I would try my best to take Alan to parks on a weekly basis but it would not always happen. Now that we have a new yard, I have been trying to take him out more and more.

According to ABC News, nearly half of the children in Alan's age group do not go outside at least once a day. The ones that do usually get their outdoor activities in at daycare or preschool. The remaining 49% who do take their preschoolers outside are usually exercisers themselves. "Parents might not realize the importance of getting preschoolers to exercise when they tend to be thin, but doing so instills good habits that can protect them against childhood obesity later on, Tandon said." Though I have always known the importance of playing outside, I did some more research to find the health benefits. I have found this awesome book, 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca P. Cohen that has the same basic idea that I do.

Here is my goal, you can call it an early New Year's Resolution lol: To take Alan outside to play at least once a day for at least 15 minutes, no matter the weather.

This means fifteen minutes of play, so just running errands with my kiddos in tow does not count. I have to take him out, even if its a little snowy and cold, and actually participate. Some days I feel like I just do not put enough effort into parenting. I do not feel like I play with my kids enough. I need to change that. I need to start enjoying my children for who they are, children. Life is all fun and games for a child, how did I forget that? In all this hustle and bustle of my adult life, I must have forgotten the magic of being a kid.

There are many benefits to taking your child outside on a daily basis. Some of these are:

*Vitamin D absorbed from the sunshine

*Burns calories and energy, helping to prevent obesity later in life

*Other health benefits from the activity

*Redirects their energy towards something constructive

*Encourages children to be creative

*Allows children to get rough and dirty without breaking anything

Alan just LOVES to play outside. He has just loved this challenge. We have been participating for about a week now, in the warm weather and the rain and the slush and the snow. Nothing will stop us! :) Here are some fun pictures from our outside adventure earlier this week!

Alan attempting to play in the puddles
How often do your children go outside? Would you participate in the challenge?

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