In this day and age, more and more children are getting more and more attached to indoor activities than outdoors and child interest in outdoor events keep reducing.
Not so long ago that we parents were absolutely worried about children’s addiction to devices.
With the lock-down and online schooling however, children’s screen time is increasing by the day and getting children involved in outdoor activities is becoming ever so challenging.
Why are children reluctant to leave home for events? Has it got anything to with child interest in outdoor events?
Whilst addition to screens and devices can be a reason for children be unenthusiastic about outdoor events, there can be many other reasons that can contribute to this.
Reasons that might reduce child interest in outdoor events
1. The weather
If the weather is too hot and humid outside, children may prefer to avoid the heat and huddle back into their cozy rooms.
Unless the weather is pleasant and perfect, children could be easily turned off by the thought of stepping outside.
A possible solution: It is so important that children are aware with the nature around them, that includes weather.
Instead of avoiding day to day weather fluctuations, it is important that we teach children to confront it or face it.
This will help children learn how to adopt to different weather, what tools they should have handy for each type of weather and what seasons to expect what weather.
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This needs dialog with children. Chose an activity that can be carried out together with them outdoors.
Gardening might be a good start where you can develop a conversation about the plants you nurture with them, how they fit in to that weather and so on.
Attending summer events during summer or winter activities during winter if it is applicable to where you live, will help children look forward to these events and get excited about attending them.
Kids who are especially used to being indoors most of the time would be unable to think of what they could do outside when they have so much to do already indoors. Indoors therefore become their conform zone and they would procrastinate going outside.
A possible solution: There are many ways this can be addressed. Parents would need to spend some time in understanding what activities children enjoy doing indoors, what their hobbies and interests are.
If they have not been able to discover their hobbies due to monotonous indoor habits, this might be the time you help them explore other options.
First option is to see if what they enjoy doing indoors can be done outdoors. If they like reading, they can start reading in different outdoor locations to start with.
However if they are too obsessed with a habit that is hard to break, you might need to consider option 2.
Second option is to involve them in an outdoor event and reward them with the indoor activity on agreed terms. For example, 15 minutes screen time for half an hour of cycling.
You can get creative and think along these options for many other ideas that are sure to pop up in your head.
3. Friends can influence child interest in outdoor events
As the saying goes “Birds of a feather flock together” it is the same with friends. When a child’s friends are less interested in outdoors, they discuss less of things they can do outdoors.
Therefore the child would be left with no driving force to be excited about getting outside.
A possible solution: This is a tough one however, we can get through this with some extra work.
It would be a good idea to communicate with the parents of your child’s friends and organize an activity that they can all enjoy.
Perhaps a pool party, an outdoor game, community event and so on. You can even set up a monthly activity day so that this would be something that all children would be looking forward to.
4. Studies/School work can limit child interest in outdoor events
In a society where education has become dominant over anything else in a child’s life, the main excuse for not going outdoors could be school work.
Homework and studying tends to be the highest priority of childhood, depriving children from getting involved in any other activity or life skill that would matter in their lives.
A possible solution: This is a social trend especially in Asia that we parents are responsible of having contributed to.
It is extremely important that parents communicate with children about the importance of balance and help them with a balanced plan for the day.
Parents can get involved in their day plan and ensure that the outdoor component is added.
Parents can communicate with schools as well to emphasize on the importance of children’s outdoor and physical activities so that teacher could be mindful about how much homework is given to children.
5. Sleep impacts child interest in outdoor events
As discussed above in point 4, as children make education and studies their main priority, they are not only deprived of outdoor activities, but also many other things that enrich their physical and mental balance and health.
Sleep tops this list. Long hours of studying results in lack of sleep in children that push them to nap during times of the day that will best fit outdoor activities.
A possible solution: This one is easy. Establishing a healthy bedtime routine from earlier on and being firm about it could help children have a healthy sleep pattern that will positively impact their health and life.
6. Video games
With enormous amounts of gaming products, Apps and tools out there, video gaming has become almost a part of a child’s life.
Prolonged gaming habits makes it almost impossible for children to realize that there is a ‘world outdoors’ leave alone going outdoors.
A possible solution: For new mums, this is easy. You only need to ensure that you do not give your children access to gaming. You can introduce them to a world of other healthy past times from earlier on.
However, if children are already onto excessive gaming, this might be a challenge however, there are ways that you can help your child wean off gaming.
As odd as it may sound, parents are one of the main reasons that children are hesitant to go outdoors.
With parents being over protective of children, fearing that there would be bug attacks, or not wanting children to mess with sand,. or being too worried over children getting wet in the rain or dew makes parents encourage children to be more indoors than outdoors even without their knowledge.
This upbringing makes it challenging for parents to get children outdoors as when they realize the children are mostly indoors might be too late to easily get them outside.
A possible solution: This one is on us, parents. We nurture our children and our way of parenting makes a huge impact on how our children spend their day.
It is important to understand that outdoor activities and events are as important as studies if not more. This will help us make outdoor events a priority and joy for our children from a younger age.
8. The Internet
As you can imagine, this is the main reason that children end up being mostly indoors and going for outdoor events might even seem unnatural to them. Their education, books, games, interactions, social life and almost everything is right there on their palm; why would they need to go outdoors afterall?
A possible solution: This is something we all have fallen prey to. If we cannot beat this we can join this. You can use the internet to encourage outdoor events of children.
Use apps that will help your children track their activity and applaud them. Use the internet to scan through activities and events nearby.
Join parenting communities and interact with parents in your locality to engage in events and community projects. Family activities would be even more fun.