A recent study, by Kiddi Caru, has revealed that parents said their children get 3 hours or less outside per week
This is surprisingly little considering the same percentage (31%) get 2-3 hours of screen time per day, with 11% getting over 4 hours daily.
According to the NHS physical activity guidelines for under 5s, toddlers should be physically active for at least 3 hours per day. And although this includes indoor play, it can be assumed that, for some, indoor time is being monopolised by screens.
When given a list of outdoor activities it was revealed 44% of toddlers have never held a bug, 36% haven’t collected sticks, 35% have yet to dig in mud and 30% haven’t fed ducks.
These figures could suggest the next generation are at risk of losing touch with nature and wildlife, which is concerning in a time where conservation and being environmentally conscious is crucial.
Is screen time to blame?
New guidelines from the World Health Organization has revealed that children under 5 should not get very much exposure to screens and those under 1 should have none at all. The data from Kiddi Caru revealed this is not the case.
Despite 93% of UK parents believing toddlers and young children are spending too much time on screens with 60% of children in this age group having access to their own tablet and 29% of parents not setting screen time limits.
The majority of parents asked (41%) introduced their children to screens at the age of 2, but 57% of parents with multiple children admitted to introducing their younger children to them earlier than their first.
Benefits of outdoor play
Fiona Blackwell, Quality Care and Education Director at Kiddi Caru, said: “Being outdoors supports children’s wellbeing. Often children are calmer and happier and more likely to engage in the learning process. Being outdoors gives the opportunity to ‘burn off’ excess energy, which in turn aids appetite and helps children to sleep better.
“Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and children do not benefit just during the summer months but in the winter during daylight hours, meaning there is every reason to get outdoors in whatever weather. After all, there is no such thing as bad weather just inappropriate clothing.”