The benefits of letting kids play outside are many. Your child may experience increased immunity, decreased anxiety, and increased physical fitness if he or she plays outdoors. However, it is important to make sure kids stay safe when they are outside, and there are a few things you can do to ensure that they will be.
Use Protective Gear
Bicycles, scooters, and skateboards are great forms of exercise. Kids feel a boost in confidence when they learn how to travel on wheels. However, it’s important to make sure they wear protective gear when riding. A helmet is non-negotiable, and kids should know that from the very beginning. A good rule to have in place is that your child cannot set foot on a rolling device until a helmet is securely attached to his or her head. It’s also beneficial to invest in knee and elbow pads, especially if you are helping a beginner learn how to ride. This can decrease injuries that might otherwise make your child want to quit.
Keep Them Away from Cars
You may worry about snakes or poison ivy when letting your kids play outdoors. While natural elements can be risks, cars are a major threat to children who don’t know to stay away from them. Children under five are the most at risk of accidentally being run over by cars. Teaching children to stay away from cars can help prevent this. Children need to know early to look both ways before crossing the street. It’s also important to teach your child that just because a ball or toy goes into the street, it doesn’t mean he or she needs to chase it. Cars are fast, and kids can dart away from before you even realize it’s happened. Start teaching your kids early to stay away from cars, and they will be less likely to be run over by one.
Teach Mindful Playing
It’s important for kids to develop confidence and to not be anxious about playing outdoors. Outside shouldn’t be a scary place in a child’s mind. That’s why calmly teaching mindfulness techniques is better than having to scream a warning as something is about to happen. Show kids how to be aware when they are walking around swings, making sure to keep a safe distance from a swing in motion. Teach them to investigate a playground before playing to assess for safety. Of course, you will be doing this as well. It’s just good for them to get into the habit so they can find broken play structures or sharp edges before being hurt by them. Mindful playing isn’t scared playing. It’s just teaching kids to be aware of their surroundings so they can have more fun and experience fewer injuries. This is a great technique to carry into other parts of life.
Playing outside is wonderful for children and adults, so don’t hesitate to get outdoors. Just make sure to teach your kids how to be safe so they can enjoy outside play while avoiding safety issues.