home
RSS
Nearly half of pre-schoolers not playing outside
April 2nd, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Nearly half of pre-schoolers not playing outside

The early childhood years are crucial for learning and development. That should involve a great deal of outdoor physical activity and playtime, but that's not always the case.

Nearly half of 3 to 5 year olds are not taken outdoors by a parent or caregiver every day, according to research presented in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine this week.

"There's a big room for improvement in how parents prioritize their time and what they're doing in the time they're spending with their pre-school children," said lead study author Dr. Pooja Tandon of Seattle Children's Research Institute.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children play outside as much as possible, for at least 60 minutes a day. Physical activity is not only good for weight control and preventing childhood obesity; previous research also suggests playing outside improves motor development, vision and vitamin D levels.

"There is evidence that play - just sort of the act of playing - is important for children's development of their social skills and their peer interactions," Tandon said.  "Being outdoors affords children an opportunity to play in ways that they may not get to when they're indoors."

In the study, researchers studied almost 9,000 pre-schoolers nationwide and asked their parents how often they take their children outside to play.

Mothers took their children out to play more often than fathers did. Working outside of the home was often a barrier for children to play outdoors, but some parents who worked from home also did not take their kids out.

In addition, the researchers found that mothers who exercised often were more likely to take their kids outdoors, as opposed to those who did not report any exercise.

The study authors also noted that girls had fewer opportunities for outdoor recreation than boys did. A study released in January came to similar conclusions.

"As caregivers or parents of girls, [we should] rethink how we dress our girls, and what we encourage them to do as far as play so that they have the same opportunity for outdoor play as boys do," Tandon said.

For all parents, Tandon offers a couple of suggestions.

First, check in with your child's care provider or child care center to ensure there is adequate outdoor time. Make sure that your child is getting it; if not, advocate for it. By pre-school age, 80% of the children in the study were in child care; in the U.S., pre-schoolers spend an average of 32 hours per week in child care.

Second, Tandon suggests coming up with new and creative ways to work around barriers, perhaps through social and community networks.

"I think parents want to do what's best for their children and I hope that this study serves as a reminder that playing outside with your children is also an important part of what we do as parents," Tandon added.


soundoff (571 Responses)
  1. chloroquine phosphate

    how do i get hydroxychloroquine chloroquine for malaria hydroxychlor tab 200mg

    June 14, 2021 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Luise Sherretts

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://whatsnewmedia.wordpress.com/2006/10/08/social-networking-time-for-a-silver-bullet/

    June 14, 2021 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Leave a Reply to The Flamingo Kid


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.