Today’s Kids Are Not Getting a Chance to be Kids
We are a nation that is losing its youth to technology and fear. In a time when politicians, the media, and lobbyists are pumping the nation full of fear about the dangers of guns, drugs, and when telephones and tablets serve as babysitters, it should come as no surprise that parents rarely let their children our of their eyesight. Many make fun of free range parenting and condemn mothers and fathers who try to teach their children to be independent too soon, but experts fear that we are raising a generation of children who simply will not know how to succeed in life.
As a result, there are some schools, communities, and families who are doing what they can to return to the a life that our grandparents lived. A life when kids stayed out until the street lights can on. A life when people knew and talked to their neighbors. A life when children played in sandboxes and leaped from swings instead of staring at screens.
With the addition of commercial sandboxes, plastic tire swings, and bike racks, many communities are attempting to entice children back to the days of old. School playground equipment in some parts of the country is coming full circle as more locations are trying to install four square courts, kickball fields, and structures that encourage students to work on their strength, agility, and core balance.
Large metal commercial swing sets and outdoor park benches encourage parents of even the youngest children to practice their independence within a safe distance of their parents and work on interacting with their peers instead of their personal electronic devices.
Are You Looking for a Way to Make Your Children More Independent?
It is crazy to think that something as simple as a commercial sandbox, a swing set, and a climbing ladder could change the world, but there are an increasing number of experts who believe that by allowing children more recess time during the school day will impact not only the students’ behavior, but their ability to learn as well. After years of increased testing and limited time outdoors, in fact, there are a growing number of schools that are going back to two and three recess breaks during a day whenever the weather permits.
Just as adults at an office get up and walk away from their desk when they reach a point where they are being less productive, there are indications that if children are allowed more opportunities for physical activity that they too will be more productive.
Some of the latest educational research indicates that utdoor play appears to be an important environment to foster some of the most important skills that children need. In fact, research shows that children with poorly developed motor-skills by age five will likely never develop efficient motor skills, so it is essential that they are given these opportunities when they are young.
In addition to physical development, play also stimulates brain development. Studies have shown, in fact, that it is very important for children to have regular opportunities for a variety of gross motor activities. Furthermore, children who do not get this interaction in their first six years will face a lifetime of limited brain power.
Instead of giving your youngest children your phone or a tablet to keep them entertained when you are busy, maybe it is time to do what your parents did to you. Push them out the door and provide them a chance to play in the commercial sandboxes, on the swing sets, and ride their bikes. Finding a safe way to make sure that your children are learning to become independent is the best way to guarantee that they, and our future, are set on the best course.
From commercial sandboxes to outdoor adventure spaces, what are you doing to make sure that your child reconnects with nature, takes time to play, and learns to be independent?