Children who Play Outdoors are More Confident
A few days after we moved into our new house, our doorbell rang. Obviously I was expecting a new neighbor. What I wasn’t expecting was a five-year old all alone, asking if our daughter could come out to play. I was very shocked that a parent would allow their child to run around the neighborhood alone at 7:00pm at night. What kind of parent does that? Don’t they know the rate of kidnappings in this country? Not to mention the risk of getting hit by a car. Since that day, I haven’t lost the memory of that little girl all alone on our front porch, and I’ve been very vigilant about always being outside with the kids and never leaving them alone for even a second. That’s just smart parenting, right?
Maybe not. An article was recently published in USA Today that is a stark contrast to my idea of good parenting . This article discusses an idea that is truly revolutionary to me. You should let your kids play outside. Unsupervised. Often.
According to this article, allowing the kids to play outside is one of the best ways to ensure that a child grows up with high self-esteem and the ability to solve problems. Of course I want my kids to grow up healthy and happy, but by closely supervising them, I may not be giving them the tools they need in life to learn how to be healthy and happy.
In the past, when I did let the kids play outside, I tried to keep out a sharp eye for any behavior that needed to be fixed. If I saw my daughter hit someone, I intervened and explained that there is no hitting. I expected other parents in the neighborhood to do the same. I also tried to keep them from eating dirt and bugs and I tried to keep them out of the mud. All this time I was convinced I was doing the right things, so I was shocked to read this article and learn that I may be depriving my children of some of the basic foundation they need to grow up confident and happy.Continued on the next page