Staying safe and staying social on the playground
April 24, 2019
Playing outdoors is a vital part of healthy development. It teaches your baby to enjoy exercise and fresh air, while making friends and working on their social skills. But many children don’t get enough time outside – because their parents don’t have time to supervise them, they have to spend time cooking and for lunch and dinner or simply do not know how to keep them safe. Remember that with First Spoons you Save time and Gain family time.
Why is outdoor playtime important?
But research shows that playing outside is key to health and social development. If children spend all their time indoors, they miss out on crucial Vitamin D, and the sunlight which helps regulate their natural sleep rhythms. Most importantly of all, they lose the vital social development that comes from playing with other kids.
How to encourage playground safety
Of course, it’s understandable that some parents worry about their kids playing outside. So we’ve put together some handy tips for playground safety. Here’s how to get all the benefits of playground socialization – without the risks.
• Stick to the playground. Younger children, in particular, should only play in supervised areas. Ask your baby’s daycare, kindergarten or elementary school about their play facilities and supervision.
• Watch out for play equipment. Hundreds of thousands of children get playground injuries each year – mostly from swings, monkey bars, and climbing frames. Don’t let your child use these until they are confident, and set clear safety rules. If you get the chance, do a quick inspection to make sure the play equipment is in good condition.
• Practice at home. Try role-playing or drilling difficult situations, so that your child is prepared. For very small children, that’s as simple as learning how to say “no!” or call for an adult. Older kids should know how to share, how to say sorry, and when to get the grown-ups involved.
• Wear relevant safety gear. If your child has started playing with a bicycle, scooter, or skates, then make sure they have safety gear. And make sure they wear it!
How to get more outdoor playtime
It can be difficult to find time to play outside. In 2019, parents and children lead busy lives, with days full of work, hobbies, and other commitments. Try these suggestions to find more time.
• Set up playdates. Split your supervising responsibilities with another parent. You could take turns to monitor outdoor play while your kids spend time together.
• Make it a family activity. Running after a toddler is already a workout! Why not get your own exercise done while your kids play in the sunshine? Try outdoor stretches or pilates next to the playground, or look for parent-and-baby exercise classes.
• Prepare snacks in advance. Make sure you’re ready to go with clothing layers, sunscreen, and snacks. Take healthy meals from First Spoons so that you can keep your kid full of energy with delicious, additive-free snacks.