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75% Of UK Kids Spend Less Time Outdoors Than Prison Inmates

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75% Of UK Kids Spend Less Time Outdoors Than Prison Inmates

Many children from ages 2-5 spend a great deal of time in front of screens, about 32 hours each week. This much time can be equated to the weekly work shift of an adult.

In a survey conducted by laundry detergent company Persil, 2,000 parents revealed just how little their children go outside. The survey confirmed that children are spending less and less time playing in the woods, fields, and parks. Most parents involved in the survey agreed that their children spend less time outside than they did in their youth. What may be even more disconcerting is that prison inmates spend about as much time outdoors as young children.

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Adverse effects of limited outdoor playtime

A survey conducted by Persil, whose parent company is Unilever, showed how parents are treating the subject of outdoor play. The survey was a part of Persil’s Dirt is Good campaign. At least 74% of children play outside for less than an hour per day. According to Britain’s Environment Secretary, Liz Truss, only 10% of children have access to outdoor learning.

One hour outside for exercise is the same standard that the UN guidelines recommend for prisoners. The survey also found that ⅕ of children don’t play outside on an average day at all—the same treatment given to a prisoner when the weather is not suitable for exercise. Is spending more time playing on a screen than playing outside really effective for kids? Technology could be leading to more confined lives, not by choice of the children but by their parents.

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Childhood in front of a screen

What is the experience of growing up without getting to go outside? A part of a child’s play is getting to be messy, fun, and creative. Is the loss of that experience depriving for children? It could be so: childhood obesity and stress are some of the results.

Physical activity is always a good thing. It’s not the most desirable for kids to bounce off the walls or use their outdoor voice indoors. Perhaps these issues can be easily resolved with more outdoor play.

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Much like those who know the benefits of exercise and continue to sit on the couch, most parents agree that outdoor play is highly valuable but it still doesn’t happen. The study revealed results that 1 in 9 children have not physically been to a beach, forest, park or any natural environment. This is very limiting for children, especially on the inner world created in their mind.

Outdoor play complements life

Exercise is important throughout life because it’s necessary to be healthy and active. Perhaps some parents don’t realize the plethora of benefits of outdoor play for kids.

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Getting plenty of outdoor exercise during formative years has an effect on maintaining fitness levels. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin produced when in the sun, not indoors.

What about being able to see better? Being in front a screen only requires the use of a limited range of eye movement. Whereas being outside helps improve vision because of the varying distances of trees and objects. A study published by Optometry and Vision Science has shown that kids who play outside have better long distance vision. It’s also important to make note that outdoor play benefits social skills, enhances attention span, and lowers stress.

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Overall, parents have such fears surrounding their children that they don’t allow them to go outside anymore. Outdoor play is becoming something of a bygone era likely because of car accidents and fear of strangers.

It’s necessary to get outside and in the dirt to experience life fully. Help reduce commercialization of childhood by taking a child in your life outdoors more frequently. Simply taking time outside each day has a tremendously beneficial effect on the lifelong health of a child. It doesn’t have to be difficult to start the healthy habit of outdoor play.

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

How to Help Your Child to Get Better Grades

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How to Help Your Child to Get Better Grades

Children are most likely to say that they want to just lounge around or rest for a while after spending hours listening to lecture after lecture from their teachers. There is nothing wrong with this if they had a rough day.

What’s disturbing, is if they deliberately stay away from schoolwork or procrastinate when it comes to reviewing for their tests or completing an important science project.

When it seems that it is becoming a habit for your child to put off school work, it’s time for you to step in and help your child develop good study habits to get better grades. It is important for you to emphasize to your child the importance of setting priorities early in life. Don’t wait for them to flunk their tests, or worse, fail in their subjects before you talk to them about it.

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You can help your children hurdle their tests with these 7 tips:

1. Help them set targets

Ask your child what they want to achieve for that particular school year. Tell them to set a specific goal or target. If they say, “I want to get better grades,” tell them to be more specific. It will be better if they say they want to get a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Having a definite target will make it easier for them to undertake a series of actions to achieve their goals, instead of just “shooting for the moon.”

2. Preparation is key

At the start of the school year, teachers provide an outline of a subject’s scope along with a reading list and other course requirements. Make sure that your child has all the materials they need for these course requirements. Having these materials on hand will make sure that your child will have no reason to procrastinate and give them the opportunity to study in advance.

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3. Teach them to mark important dates

You may opt to give them a small notebook where they can jot down important dates or a planner that has dates where they can list their schedule. Ask them to show this to you so you can give them “gentle reminders” to block off the whole week before the dates of an exam. During this week, advise your child to not schedule any social activity so they can concentrate on studying.

4. Schedule regular study time

Encourage your child to set aside at least two hours every day to go through their lessons. This will help them remember the lectures for the day and understand the concepts they were taught. They should be encouraged to spend more time on subjects or concepts that they do not understand.

5. Get help

Some kids find it hard to digest or absorb mathematical or scientific concepts. Ask your child if they are having difficulties with their subjects and if they would like to seek the help of a tutor. There is nothing wrong in asking for the assistance of a tutor who can explain complex subjects.

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6. Schedule some “downtime”

Your child needs to relax from time to time. During his break, you can consider bringing your child to the nearest mall or grocery store and get them a treat. You may play board games with them during their downtime. The idea is to take his mind off studying for a limited period of time.

7. Reward your child

If your child achieves their goals for the school year, you may give them a reward such as buying them the gadget they have always wanted or allowing them to vacation wherever they want. By doing this, you are telling your child that hard work does pay off.

Conclusion

You need to take the time to monitor your child’s performance in school. Your guidance is essential to helping your child realize the need to prioritize their school activities. As a parent, your ultimate goal is to expose your child to habits that will lay down the groundwork for their future success.

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Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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