Wednesday, 21 October 2015

I told my Son to get out!

Yes…I told my son to get out. And he was happy to comply.  In fact, I tell him to get out every day…for at least an hour. I tell him to run and play and jump around. I hope you know what I am referring too. I am talking about spending time away from TVs, mobiles, laptops and books too. And more importantly spending time away from over-protective family and get a taste of not being the “most pampered person in the house”. Its ok if he bruises his knee, gets a sun tan, breaks a couple of toys, soils his clothes (and hands and face) and fights a little with his friends. I know he is just being a kid and that is what is more important.

My son sometimes complains that there is nobody to play with. Some kids go to activity classes, some have tuitions, some are sick and some just like to play indoors. Well, I totally understand. It is a competitive world out there. Kids need to be prepared multi-dimensionally. Life would be very brutal for an average(?) kid. Grades, certificates and accolades define their destiny to a very large extent. But then I wonder, if these kids are so busy working towards a picture perfect future, when will they enjoy being kids? Shouldn’t they enjoy rolling in mud, climbing trees, running around before any of those grown-up inhibitions develop in their minds? There are numerous studies that link outdoor physical activities to overall mental, physical and psychological growth of a child. Yet, in a bid to protect our kid and mold his future we tend to overlook its importance. Just to emphasize my point here, let’s have a quick look at the some benefits of playing outdoors:-

Outdoor activities built stamina and boost physical development in the growing years.
Physical activities make kids naturally hungry and boost their food intake.
Playing in natural air and sun provides vital supplements such as Vitamin D which in turn is imperative for good health.
Believe it or not but kids too are under stress. Running around and having no directions to follow can help them release this stress and focus their energy.
Different weathers help develop basic immunity in a human body and though it can happen at any age, it has best influence during the growing years.
Having some unsupervised interactions with other kids helps develop social engagement skills and helps them understand the importance of socially acceptable behavior.
Physically engaging games amplify team spirit and help build a sense of belongingness.
And most importantly, playing outdoors with other kids deposits some wonderful memories in the memory bank for the kid to cherish lifelong.

Now let me be very honest here. Letting kids play outdoors is easier said than done. I am highly impatient during the time when my son is unsupervised and vulnerable to the unimaginable dangers. I become highly responsive to slightest of sounds (read screams, shrieks, and howls) and run outside to check, only to find the kids playing merrily and completely unaware of the storm in my head. I am also aware of the health hazards that kids are exposed too when they play out in the open. But I also realize that bringing up a kid in a highly sanitized environment will only do him harm in the long run.

And yes, I have fondest memories of playing outdoors during my childhood. They still make me want to go back to those wonderful times. It would be so unfair if my son is devoid of such memories to look back and smile upon when he grows up. And hence, I am going to ask him to get out again. I am sure he would not mind.

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