Children and the Environment
Remember as a kid, you might have been lucky to watch a bit of children’s telly in the morning. We didn’t have smartphones or iPads. Heck, we didn’t even have the internet. So what did we do with ourselves? We went outside. We grabbed our bikes, we found our mates and we played all day. When the street lights came on, you knew it was time to go home.
My 6 year old and 4 year old got tablets for Christmas (the Amazon Kindle kind, not the kind you take for a headache). Why? I guess because a lot of their friends have them, they use them at school and they are extremely useful for long journeys and ‘down time’. However, it didn’t take long before I noticed how unenthusiastic they had become about going outdoors – they just wanted to play on their new tablets…quite frankly they had become lazy, uninterested and miserable!
To be fair the weather this winter has been nothing but rain so perhaps they haven’t been outdoors as much as normal; but despite having a beautiful 3 mile beach on their doorstep, it had become a battle to get their coats and wellies on – and, as any parent knows – it’s exhausting getting your kids to cooperate, let alone be happy to do something they really don’t want to do. Miserable children means miserable parents. Something had to change.
We now only allow them to play with their tablets for an hour a day (a handy parental setting) and because they have access to children’s TV all day every day, the telly remains off until 3pm and the remote control is hidden. Not genius and no doubt a lot of parents already do this, but it took us a while to figure out what the change had been in our normally happy ‘outdoorsy’ kids. I admit they haven’t fully embraced this new development to the full yet….but they are much nicer and easier children to be around once they’ve had fun and fresh air, and our youngest even asked to do a beach clean this weekend.
Children are the most powerful and influential source that exists right now. Nothing comes close to the influential mind of a child. The future of this planet and our health and well being, depends on the perception of their environment. They need green spaces to play, explore, run, ride bikes, climb and get muddy. They need a ‘playground’. We all need Green Infrastructure. This article, published by The Guardian is an inspiration to developers, communities, local authorities and parents a like;