It can be tempting to keep your kids from playing outside in cold fall weather. Keeping your swing set safe in icy weather, when the yard is covered in leaves and debris, and the equipment itself is wet can take an uncomfortable amount of maintenance work. On top of that, kids might not even want to go outside. Shorter days mean higher melatonin levels, making the prospect relaxing indoors feel more inviting.
It’s important that parents resist these temptations, and get outside to put their kids out on the swing or take them out to the playground. Playing outside isn’t just a summer activity, and making sure of that is an important part of helping your kids develop healthy habits for a lifetime.
Getting outside to play is even more important during the colder months than other times of the year. Short days, dimmer sunlight, and wet weather make it difficult for kids to get enough exposure to sunlight to generate the Vitamin D they need. Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly known to impact bone health and has also been linked to cancer, asthma, cognitive issues, and cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin supplements can also help, but oral supplements aren’t as effective as going outside and getting the job done naturally.
Keeping up Exercise
Kids need regular exercise to grow and develop properly. Strong bones and muscles, proper hand-eye coordination, flexibility, and agility are developed through use. Keeping kids active throughout the year as much as possible can make a big difference. The many different motions involved in swinging on a swing, climbing steps or ladders, running around, and engaging in other active play are the perfect environment for a developing child.
Improve sleep and concentration
Exercise and proper exposure to sunlight do more than just prevent disease and keep your kids in shape. They also have important cognitive effects. Regular exercise helps to regulate the sleep cycle, which helps to improve focus during waking hours. Even better, combined with proper exposure to sunlight, it helps kids to maintain higher energy levels, and to stay sharp and alert during gloomy winter days. It’ll make it easier and less frustrating to pay attention in school, while also improving their performance.
Combat seasonal depression
Seasonal depression isn’t just an issue for adults. It can take the wind out of your kids’ sails as well. This makes it tough to function in an environment that already makes a lot of activities less enjoyable and more difficult. By keeping them playing outside, you can help them to keep their mood stable during the winter months. More importantly, you’ll be teaching them the tools they need to help manage depression, low energy, lack of focus, and their health on their own. By learning these lessons now, they can acquire the judgment they need to make good decisions about how to stay healthy and happy as an adult.