If the innocent yelling of your friends to call out your name, and play a game of bat and ball is the kind of alarm that woke you up in the morning during your growing up years, much before the cruel rays of the sun irritated your eyes, then dear reader you have had a wholesome childhood.
In today’s day and age, the boundary between the real and the virtual world is extremely blurry, to say the least. Statistics suggest that most children these days prefer to play on their screens and not in the playground. They have a liking towards playing games on fancy devices and not under the bright blue sky, which in more ways than one tends to hamper their growth and harm their creative development.
With these harmful effects that come with having more screen time, Here are some of the benefits of playing outdoors and having less screen time as a child.
With the decline in the number of children who like to play outdoors, the creativity scale has remarkably reduced also. This downfall has been witnessed since the year 1990, especially where the toddlers are concerned.
Creativity works as the foundation of managing emotions, self-expression and problem-solving. Therefore, the lack of the same would be a huge obstacle in the growth and development of a child. As it is a vehicle for language, social development as well as literacy, low creativity could be a huge obstacle in promoting either of these.
Exploring the outdoors and doing various activities under the sky would imbibe a lot of “why” questions in the child, which gives way to a lot of curiosity and a natural sense of wonder. Giving the child a chance to structure and invent their own game would make them reach out to their creative potential and come up with something completely authentic that reflects a sense of their own being.
Boost in Confidence
By giving your child the chance to come up with a game that reflects their personal interest and opinion, you boost their confidence and make them really believe in the way their mind works, as they witness a more independent and powerful version of themselves with a newfound faith in their own doings.
Spending huge amounts of time on Television screens or gaming devices makes a child lose their belief and confidence as they are busy appreciating the talent of others who make it to the other side of the screen rather than working on their own skills and interests, or at least trying and failing to do so in the process.
Improved Physical and Mental Health
No matter how cruel the rays of the sun may seem sometimes, good exposure to sunshine results in the production of Vitamin D helps in both, the development of the bone as well as strengthens the immune system.
This also ensures a restful sleep for your child and keeps them in a good mood, benefitting not only their physical but also mental health and making them a calmer and more peaceful version of themselves.
An Active Lifestyle
It is a given that along with the number of benefits that playing outdoors has to offer, the idea of children being active is a given. Irrespective of the age, the concept of exercising doesn’t sound very promising or exciting to most of us, playing under the sky is one of the best ways of indulging in fun activities that have numerous health benefits.
Throwing a ball, Jumping around, dancing or riding a bike are just a few of the ways in which children pass their time and unintentionally keep their BMI in control resulting in fewer cases of Asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, it enhances their sleep and helps them focus and put their energy to good use. This translates to solid improvement in motor skills and increased strength in muscles.
Reduced Anxiety and Stress Levels
While recent surveys suggest that screens lead to an increase in stress and anxiety, playing in the open is believed to reduce it. With an increased screen time, the chances of a decrease in emotional stability are quite proportional. Unlike the devices that children are used to spending their time on, the responses that we get in real life are not as instant or gratifying. Therefore, in order to learn the rules and norms that run the real world it is extremely important to be present in such a setting. This helps them rethink their expectations and hopes from life leading to a decrease in both stress and anxiety.
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When a child is on their own, even if it is in a playground a few steps away from their house, there are more chances of them going on a quest to explore their surroundings out of curiosity. Even though this comes with a certain amount of risk, it will be a huge step in them coming to their own.
By allowing your child to take a little risk, within reason, you increase the chances of them stumbling upon a valuable lesson and a good learning experience. Having that faith in a child enables them to look for the same in themselves along with appreciation and responsibility towards other living beings. With the understanding of the impact their decisions might have on others around them, children learn responsibility in all spheres of life.
Development of Social Skill
Implementing their own ideas and inventing their own game, helps children find a way to not only their own self but also to other like-minded or completely different children who they either might end up being friends with or experience something that they ordinarily wouldn’t, with.
Only being able to interact with other individuals their age in a restricted setting, like that of the four walls of a classroom, limits the kind of interaction they can have which in turn affects their social skills.
When one chooses screens over sunshine, they also choose vulnerability in the face of many social situations. If a child has more screen time than he/she spends interacting in person, it makes them grow up to be more anxious, underconfident, inactive, irresponsible, stressed and anti-social as an individual. Not only that, there are high chances of them facing difficulty in feeling inspired or motivated in comparison to the children who have grown up playing under the sunshine in a playground.