Kids Are Not Getting Enough Outside Time -- Especially Girls
My daughter has calluses on her hands from her continuous attempts to master the monkey bars. She spends hours biking in the back and today she proudly took her soccer ball to school to work on her kicks.
But is it enough?
A study came out that said that preschoolers are not getting enough outdoor play, but disturbingly girls are getting even less than the boys.
According to Time magazine's Healthland: "Nearly half of preschoolers don’t venture outside with their parents to play every day, and girls are most likely to suffer, according to a new study of 8,950 U.S. kids in their final year before entering grade school."
Of that, girls are 16 per cent less likely to get outside than boys.
Moms who exercise are 50 per cent more likely to take their kids outside to work off some energy, but sadly, the disparity for girls still exists.
Now researchers are trying to figure out why that is. Is there some underlying sexism at play here? Do we think that girls don't have as much energy as boys and don't need to run around as much?
The answer is yes.
As a mother of both boys and girls, I am constantly being asked if my boys run me ragged and isn't it great to have a girl who will sit.
And I can tell you that my daughter is much more of a physical learner than her brothers. She needs to be busy. But parents and teachers think otherwise - not on purpose, of course. The underlying notion that girls like to play inside while boys need to be outside is showing up in the statistics and that doesn't bode well for our girls' health.
The study also said that minority kids get even less playtime: "Minorities were far less likely to spend time on the playground with their parents than kids with white parents: Asian mothers were 49% less likely, black mothers 41% less likely and Hispanic mothers 20% less likely to venture outside with their kids."
But even the boys aren't getting outside in an unstructured way as much as they should be. And less outside time means less gross motor skill development as well as fewer heart healthy activities.
Gone are the days when kids played hide and seek unsupervised on the whole block until the streetlights come one. As writer Bonnie Rochman states:
The lack of outside playtime is a reflection of how childhood has evolved. Children’s lives, in general, are far more structured than they were a generation ago. Kids have after-school classes — some even attend before-school enrichment — and they’re tethered to the house, in contrast to years past when they’d wander the neighborhood with friends after school. And with more two-parent working families than in the past, an increasing number of parents are feeling squeezed for time. If the choice is between making dinner and taking your kids to the park, it’s likely that meal prep will win out. After all, kids have to eat. They don’t have to go outside. But they should.
I couldn't have said it better myself. So I guess I am heading outside with the skipping rope now. You?
Do your kids get enough outside time? Why do you think parents don't take their girls out enough?
Want more chaos? Last year, I bragged about my spelling skills and wondered if spelling was still important.