Bewegungsarme kindheit – when children play little outside


Children’s shouts and peals of laughter – sounds that have become increasingly rare outside kindergartens and elementary schools. The multitude of studies that have attempted to address the issue attest to the fact that this cannot be a mere assumption or collective feeling. Playing Children actually always less outside?

Studies on the stay of children in the open air

Recently, a study from the market research institute Ipos showed how much time children spend outside to play. The independent study was commissioned by outdoor boot manufacturer Kamik to investigate the play behavior of children between three and twelve Years To be investigated. In the process, 750 women and their offspring were surveyed worldwide. As a result, compared to their parents’ generation, children today are using 25 percent less of their time, to play outside.

Researchers are even more explicit in their assessment and even talk about a Alienation from Nature. Based on this, children would know significantly less about the outdoors and would also be less and less likely to enjoy spending time in nature. An example of this is the space forest. While in the Youth Report 1997 More than half of all children and young people surveyed from the School classes 6 and 9 who said they liked to walk alone through the woods, there was a lot of screaming Youth Report 2016 only 29%. In contrast to 1997, half of children today feel alone in Forest even uncomfortable. Why is it that children always more insecure in rooms which used to be a welcome and preferred place for them to play?

Parents are afraid for their offspring

The problem is not only with the Children. So parents are also unsettled when it comes to their child’s play outside to let. Back in 2015, ZEIT commissioned a representative survey from the YouGov polling institute to find out how much leeway parents give their children. For this 1002 mothers and fathersr of children between the ages of five and fifteen were surveyed. The result shows that the freedom of movement severely restrictedt is. Around one in ten generally leaves their child not unsupervised outside. Every second person feels anxious when their child just steps outside the door, and a full 12% of parents don’t let their child out of the apartment or house alone at all. 56 percent of parents allow their children unsupervised play exclusively on your own property or in the immediate neighborhood.

This strong Negative trend of the free Move of children seems all the more serious when today’s society is compared with an older one: This was succinctly summarized in a Zeit article: "Studies show that children in Germany were able to move freely within a radius of several kilometers in the sixties; today, they can hardly get around on their own 500 meters away from their own room."

The fear of letting one’s own children out of one’s sight and, above all, outside the protective four walls is naturally intertwined with concern for the well-being of our offspring. Larger Traffic, growing attention from reports of violent acts and the fear of what we can’t monitor fuel our fear. We no longer just warn our children about the "evil unknown". We lock down any possibility of them even getting near this one and seal them off from uncontrolled spaces from. While fears are not always based on fact, they are always effective. Because whether it is based in reality or just influenced by the media, the Fear of us Parents is real.

Why do children play outside less?

It is not a question of guilt, if one wants to find out why children have less time spend time playing outside their own four walls. The causes are more complex than the often cited buzzwords helicopters parents and Media consumption can reach. If we consider only the Physical activity, recorded in a long-term study at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, it is found that on the one hand Girl on average less actively than boys are. However, the statistics also show that children’s lack of physical activity can also be linked to the income situation of parents. But be careful, because in the end statistics are only numbers that represent the average and do not reflect pure facts. It is known that unfortunately the number of earners of the first income limits is much higher, so the number of respondents is naturally much lower representative. Whether the reason that girls exercise less than boys is not also dependent on gender roles cannot be proven on the basis of mere figures. So why children move less or play outside less cannot be clearly determined in our opinion.

Instead of identifying a scapegoat or a specific cause, it is important to look at the actions that are for and against the alienation from nature or Lack of exercise of children, can be seen. One of the most important factors, however, is the lack of space to play in nature. Especially City kids are affected because they often do not have playgrounds, sports fields or parks within easy reach. The modern urban development Suppresses the Children Increasingly out of the public space or segregate it, away from the adult world into its own separate, parent-monitored space. Thereby not even Playgrounds the most popular public spaces of children. Children prefer to play where they can use their imagination and explore secret places that we adults don’t have an eye for. A gnarly Tree at Forest thus becomes a gateway to another world and a great Puddle to the uncrossable lava lake. In urban areas dominated by adult rules, there is less and less room for such shenanigans.

The Freedom of children to play where and when they want is limited to the minimum nowadays. Not only are children given only limited space to play, they are also limited in time. It almost sounds paradoxical: as much as children’s physical activity has declined, participation in Sports clubs. The reason for this is the controlled and structured lives of children. We want our children to be athletic, smart and disciplined. To achieve all this they are often are busy schedules. There is little time for the freedom to simply play outside. Unhealthy stress is just one of the phenomena that this form of Planning leisure time occurs when children’s lives are structured like those of small adults. Nowadays every sixth child suffers from stress.

Outdoor play for health and development

Children become adults early enough. The importance of outdoor play for children is shown by the studies. If children are often at home without peers they avoid conflict management and social interaction; important social skills that want to be practiced as early as in the sandbox in order to get ahead in later life, even without the protection of parents. Social and language skills are promoted through sufficient exercise, outdoor play and interaction with children of the same age during romping and playing. Especially that Experiencing nature shapes children, because even in our early lives, experiencing nature, or rather not experiencing it, has an impact on mental health. For example, it has long been known that people who live near green spaces are psychologically healthier and happier. But childhood already shapes the tendencies towards psychological stability. Danish scientists haben established a connection between the risk of developing mental illness and the Access to nature. According to the scientists, this risk decreases the longer children are surrounded by green spaces up to the age of 10. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the home garden, a park or even a forest. Relevant is the stay in the green.

Playing outdoors and in nature also favors physical development and influences motor skills. When comparing with older studies, it becomes clear that children are becoming increasingly unathletic. In the standing long jump, for example, they perform ten percent worse than they did 40 years ago. In addition, the high number of children with overweight. According to the latest study by the Robert Koch Institute, one in seven children in Germany is overweight. Yet exercise from birth is essential for healthy development. This is already evident in the fact that children can no longer fall properly. In children take Anterior tooth fractures due to uninterrupted falls. Balance, Strength and Coordination children learn only through physical activity. In addition, children learn better the more they are active at a young age. The earliest months in life mean a long-term impact on the body and mind. The WHO (The World Health Organization has recently published recommendations on physical activity and sleep for infants and children up to four years of age.

WHO recommendation

According to a study, the World Health Organization found that children are physically and mentally fitter later in life if they engage in physical activity from the time they are Infancy Move a lot, sit less and sleep more. According to the WHO, the early months are crucial, as the body changes rapidly. More exercise leads to improved development of cognition and physical fitness. In addition, it can seriously influence later behavior patterns in adolescence or adulthood. Today, 23% of adults and 80% of adolescents do not get enough exercise.

That’s why the WHO recommends that Infants already at least 30 minutes move and from one year already 180 minutes. What the Movement phases the World Health Organization advises that more exercise is always better. Screen time, on the other hand, should be absent from infants’ days, and even with young children should be avoided for the most part. Infants’ freedom of movement should not be restricted for more than one hour a day. This means that, according to the WHO, sitting in a stroller, high chair or baby carrier should be avoided as far as possible.

However, this seemingly utopian figure is not an obligation but a recommendation. To what extent these can be implemented, we as parents must decide and try out for ourselves. Because especially strollers, highchairs and other aids are important to transport, feed or simply secure the children. In the end, we must not forget to do what is best for the child at his or her current age and not just work on optimizing the child as if it were a process. This also includes the safety of the child.
Where we hear from greenstories however, without concern for the WHO agree, is the recommendation on screen time, which for diapered infants can lead to avoid are. The use of electrical devices such as smartphones and tablets in the early years of children’s development has been dealt with in a separate guidebook, here more.

Let children play outdoors

Not always such recommendations can be combined with everyday life. However, we parents should, to the best of our ability, encourage our offspring to move around and go outside. The Urge to move is a natural need in children up to 12 years und should not be suppressed. Children’s schedules should also allow room for the Self-employment and allow free development. The easiest comparison is with our own childhood. What shaped one the most? What is the best thing to remember? Few would probably say it was their weekly commitments. This is also shown by the Ipsos study. The majority of the mothers surveyed said that the most enjoyable Childhood memories during outdoor play with friends or siblings emerged.

In addition, despite all concern for children’s health, not all risks should be avoided as a matter of principle. As difficult as it may be to accept that your child may sometimes be bruises must get to learn how things work properly, that is exactly what prepares them for later and Independence as well as conflict consciousness trains.

However, it is understandable that parents are not the only ones responsible for the lack of exercise among children and young people. The problem does not lie with digitalization either, because even children who are outside a lot use their Smartphone or tablet frequently. Lack of space and access to play in nature. Until there is an ideal, natural space for children in the urban landscape, we parents must Measures Seize and seek opportunities to let our children play outside, preferably in green spaces, and do so with as much freedom as possible for independence and imagination.

This is what you can do – recommendation for more activities

  • Allow toddlers freedom of movement as often as possible
  • Spend a lot of time outdoors even with young children
  • Schedule open free time for children
  • Set an example for themselves and spend time outdoors
  • games for outdoors should be thought up or procured

The advice from all of this varies according to Life situation and own planning the day of toddlers if possible not yet with fixed courses and recurring activities plan but leave so much time and space that also boredom arises. Understandably, it is more difficult for city children to visit a forest, but maybe you can find a nearby forest, especially on weekends Woodland. There could be, for example. on a Weekend collecting long sticks should be the goal, and building a tipi should be the following one. All it takes is either a string or Sticklets, what softener-free Silicone Connectors are. This game is popular with girls and boys alike and automatically leads to a desire to spend more time in nature. If there is some space at home, the structures, with the collected sticks, can also be built at home.

Another exciting and easy to implement activity for outdoors is the Nature Bingo. Instead of just going for a walk, the children go on Treasure hunt. An egg carton becomes a treasure chest and nature offers the treasures. Our print template specifies what to look for: a leaf, an acorn, some moss, a feather and many other natural treasures the children have to find and put in their treasure chest. While searching for treasures, children get to know their environment better and get the all-important exercise in the fresh air. Nature bingo can be played in the forest, park or garden and is also a nice activity for children’s birthday parties.

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