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  • Dr. Megan Westbrook

It's Play time

Now that the sun is shining and summer is almost here, a topic to go over is how much outdoor playtime is necessary for kids. Nowadays, it’s tough to pull a child away from a TV, an iPad, a computer, or a phone. A recent study has shown that kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend around 7 hours PER DAY in front of a screen. The value of outdoor play includes not only physical benefits, but mental, as well!

The CDC recommends one hour per day of play, mainly for physical benefits: burn calories, tone muscles, and mange weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that one hour of play per day can help a child unwind, relax and be creative. This creative type of play is good for mental and social development. Even 30 minutes a day outside can help create awareness around nature and the outdoors, making children more inclined to be conservation-minded. Researchers at the University of Illinois have shown that outdoor time can also help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) improve their concentration inside the classroom and act more focused and calm.

Finding time for 30 minutes to one hour throughout the day may be difficult in between piano lessons and soccer practice, so the Mayo Clinic recommends accomplishing this in 10-minute chunks of time. These segments of time will build up and help with your child’s mental and physical wellbeing.

Now, get out there and play!

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