And why are our kids spending less time out doors than we did (and becoming weaker as a result)? The most frequently cited reasons are - Stranger danger, fast traffic, knife crime and fear of annoying the neighbours. So how do we stop this cycle and try to get the next generation to be more of an outdoor generation?
We need to teach our kids how to avoid trouble and safely cross roads. We need to speak to our neighbours more. We need to stop hovering on the periphery of play. We need to let go. In short, we need to trust our kids more so they don’t inherit our fears. This is not to compromise family time, which is equally as important, but you don’t need to be with your kids all the time. Remember the difference between real risks and perceived risks – “yes, they might get hit by a car or physically attacked, but in reality, they will probably explore, invent games, make friends, run, fall over, get up again, tear clothes, get stronger, improve immunity, push boundaries… be kids.”
Let go… They will come back… Happier and more confident!
(Disclaimer: Children will fall over, break stuff, hurt themselves, hurt each other, destroy clothes, scuff shoes, climb on things, etc.)
In Chasing the Sun: The New Science of Sunlight and How it Shapes Our Bodies and Minds, by Linda Geddes
The National Human Activity Pattern Survey) (NHAPS): A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants, by Neil E. Klepeis and others, and published by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2001.
YouGov survey undertaken between 15th April - 1st May 2019 in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, UK and US.