Monday, 4 April 2016

Time to get outside more!


Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates. This is the headline that has been filling my social media feeds for the last 48 hours, and something that really, really shocked me.
I love taking Freddie on outdoor adventures
Reading further down the article it stated high security prison inmates are required to spend two hours outside every day for the well being of their physical and mental health. To think our children are inside more than prison inmates is really quite concerning. Of course it is claimed the lure of technology is the main culprit, and I guess this is probably true for lots of children, parenting is bloody hard work and sometimes you need to save your sanity and let them play on the damn ipad one more time.

Never happier than when he is running around in the park
Reading this I didn't really think it applied to us, we weren't in that third, we are always out doing, but when I sat down and really thought about how much actual outdoor time Fred gets every day it made me realise that maybe we (because fresh air isn't just good for children!) don't get enough. Lets be realistic though, two hours a day is quite ambitious with a toddler with the attention span of a nat, but as he gets older I am sure it will be easier to be outdoors more. I already find being outdoors is easier than being indoors, the more we are out the cleaner the house is! I really believe that being outdoors is so, so good for our children there is nothing better that the sight of Fred's rosy cheeks from breathing in all that fresh air and watching him discover the world around him. Fred absolutely loves being outdoors and by about 10 every morning is banging on the door wanting out (it's like having a golden retriever sometimes) he loves to splash in puddles, pick up sticks, run around and explore, every outdoor adventure we go on you can see him learning and discovering new things, his mind is like a little sponge and what better to soak up than the great outdoors.

Getting outdoors more as a family is really important to me.
Some days when you've had no sleep and the washing is flowing out of the basket, going out can seem overwhelming but although not often, if  we do spend a whole day indoors I actually notice a huge affect on my mood and Fred's behavior so come rain or shine (and it's about time I got some use out of the all in one rain coat that cost me £32 in Jojo Maman Bebe) I am on a mission to get us all out more.  So as well as the outdoor activities we do during the day, we have added two new ways to get outside more.  Day 2 and it's going well and it adds up to 40 minutes more outside every day and yet it doesn't feel like we are even out that long! We have added a walk before/after breakfast, just a small walk around the block, good excuse to pop to the shops for the bits we will need that day. Freddie doesn't usually want breakfast as soon as he wakes so instead of sitting watching Cbeebies, it's coats and trainers on over his Pjs (I do chuck jeans on as no one wants to see me in my PJs) and out we go. It actually is such a wonderful way to start the day, I am surprised at the mood lift and motivation a brisk early morning walk gives you. Daddy misses his little man so much while he is at work so the next thing we have added is a little evening walk after dinner, before bath and bed. This is such a nice thing for us to do as a family, 20 minutes every day of quality time to talk and not be distracted by the dishes or crap TV. Freddie is loving this too because it means 40 minutes extra every day on his trike which he is obsessed with. It really tires him out before bed too and makes him really hungry and ready for breakfast. After 2 days I can see a real positive difference in us all. Now I know this all sounds idyllic and it wont always work out but I really really want to try and keep it up.

Freddie is loving his evening trips out on his trike!
Playing outside is fundamental in our children's health and development and what is best about the outdoors? It's free!

Has this survey linked with Persil's 'Dirt is Good' campaign get you thinking about getting outdoors a bit more?




3 comments:

  1. Oh wow, I hadn't read that headline but it is really shocking and the more I think about it I definitely think we are in that third! Definitely in the last couple of months since Sailor arrived anyway. I'd love to get out more and always feel so guilty when we don't, but at the moment outings are REALLY hard with 2 little ones who can't walk yet (We really need to buy a double pram!)

    Your ideas for getting out more are amazing, and it looks like Freddie really enjoys it bless him! xx

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Hayley :) Easy for me to say with one toddler haha, must be so difficult getting out with three! Since Fred has been properly walking it is so much easier! My anxiety makes it so hard for me to go out on my own but I find it does my mood the world of good so really have to push myself. after 4 days of doing our little plan I even got the courage to go to the outside shopping centre near us on my own, so it's definitely having the desired effect. Think how wonderful it will be when all your lovely boys are walking and all you need to do is sit on the bench at the park and watch them, they can entertain each other, whereas I am running around, trying to hold my jeans up to hide my baby belly pretending that I am enjoying myslef haha! xx

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    2. LOL! Oh Amie that's so funny coz that last part is literally what I was doing today at the park - damn jeggings falling down showing my mum tum off!! So annoying! Someone needs to invent non-slip mum jeans with braces or something!

      Ah thats amazing that its helping with your anxiety though and going to the shopping centre alone is a big achievement for someone with anxiety, I could never handle that! Well done you! :) xx

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