This winter has been very tough for me as far as V’s health was concerned. We struggled for nights with blocked nose, persistent cough and sore throat. I had to do an extensive research on how to deal with baby’s cough and cold , how to boost immunity and how to get rid of recurring flu. While I was not successful in the initial attempts, I learnt a lot through the failed attempts. One of the biggest myths that burst for me was that babies/kids should be kept indoors to avoid any kind of health issue. Contrary to this popular belief, there are in fact hundreds of benefits for kids who play outside regularly, it is also advised that kids should spend more than 3 hours outdoors each day. Some of the reasons why you should let your child spend time outside are listed below –
- Confinement breeds diseases: While rest is extremely important for the sick and we are perennially worried about our kids catching cold when they step out, the reality is virus is easy to catch in closed environments. In open areas, there are lesser chances of kids catching the virus and in open air.
- Emotional and social competencies: Outdoor play has brain-boosting benefits for kids, starting in infancy. It strengthens the language and communication interactions among children who play together in the park. The more they socialize, the faster their learning is.
- Vitamin D Levels : Vitamin D has several health benefits like strengthening bone health which is a key parameter for growth in kids. Since, most of our kids have minimum exposure to sun these days, we try to supplement through food and tablets but sunlight is the most natural and effective way of receiving Vitamin D. Ofcourse, the precautionary measures must be taken for children who get sun burns easily.
- Channelize energy and increase curiosity: Kids come with a huge amount of energy which has to be channelized in a productive way. Kids who are confident about their physical abilities tend to be more positive about their lives in general. When they are exposed to newer things, their curiosity levels rise up, their tendency to ask questions increases and all of this contributes to the overall energy levels of a child.
- Increased attention span : Green outdoor settings always appear to reduce Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms amongst children, that includes the exposure they get to natural settings through different outdoor activities.
- Concept of leadership and team work – Outdoor play is extremely important to the social development of children particularly for building self-confidence. In addition to it, children also get more empathetic through social play, and they develop more skills for coping with conflict. Group activities also help develop team skills and leadership/moderation skills at a very early age.
- Boosting creativity: Sensory inputs help boost creativity and imagination. It also helps with quick learning – we all know we learn to do by doing and there is no substitute to experience. So, if you touch the sand, you would understand the concept of coarse and fine and there is no other way to explain it by seeing or reading. Hence, we must encourage our kids to step out and enjoy the sun, grass and wide skies.
I would be so happy to receive inputs from other moms who are willing to share their experiences and tricks which have worked for them.