Many parents are not taking their kids outside to play everyday, according to a recent study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Parents with children ages 3-5 answered one question as part of the much larger Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort: “In the past month, how often did you take [child] outside for a walk or to play in yard, a park, or a playground?” Response categories were: “once a day or more,” “few times a week,” “few times a month,” “rarely” or “not at all.” Of the responses, only 51 percent of parents answered “once a day or more.”
The study finds the odds of a child playing outside daily with a parent were:
- 15 percent lower if the child was a girl
- 36 percent greater if the child had one to two friends outside of school, and twice that if the child had three or more friends
- 49 percent lower if the mother was Asian, 41 percent lower if the mother was black and 20 percent lower if the mother was Hispanic, compared to white mothers
Additionally more children (58 percent) were likely to go outside and play with a parent if they were not attending regular child care or staying with an adult other than their parent.
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, research also suggests playing outside improves motor development, vision and vitamin D levels, said lead study author Dr. Pooja Tandon of Seattle Children’s Research Institute.”
Read the journal article: Frequency of Parent-Supervised Outdoor Play of US Preschool-Aged Children
Read the CNN article: Nearly half of pre-schoolers not playing outside