Things have changed a lot in the past few generations, making it less safe for kids to play in their neighborhoods unsupervised. For working parents especially, it can be conflicting if your child likes to play outside – on the one hand, it’s great that they are getting exercise and fresh air; on the other, it’s nerve-wracking to know your child is not being watched by an adult.
As much as we’d like to think that our kids get enough playtime at school, that’s also no longer the case. Many public schools throughout the country have eliminated PE (Physical Education) classes, which means that many kids get no physical playtime at all through their entire day. That is a huge loss for children’s physical and mental development. But what can we do about it?
After School Programs:
- Check with your child’s school to find out if there are after school activities that your child can join. If there are, this is a good time for your child to explore new interests and activities. For example, if your child spends hours playing chess, you may think a chess club would be the perfect fit, but you may also want to consider another activity that they can try out like basketball. Alternately, an avid sports enthusiast might discover a talent for computer graphics or animation.
- Getting kids involved with team sports is beneficial for their physical health as well as cooperation, collaboration, and communication skills.
- If money is tight, check with your local park or community center which are usually more affordable than club team sports. This also allows your child to interact with the neighborhood kids and make new friends.
- If you live in an area where kids could safely play but supervision is a challenge, consider getting together with your local parents and see if there is a way to rotate supervision time with the kids a few times a week with parents who have more flexible schedules.
- Check with your local community park to see if there are after school programs for students.
- Though we don’t want our kids flopped on the couch watching TV all afternoon, there are ways to get them active while engaged in the tube like video games that require physical interaction. Dance, tennis, fencing, yoga, jogging, and so much more are offered through various game consoles for physical fun when the kids are stuck indoors.