How much time have your little ones spent outside today?
According to a recent survey of 2,000 parents of 5-12 year olds, three-quarters of children in the UK spend less than 60 minutes playing outside daily - that's less time spent outdoors each day than prison inmates.
The findings revealed that 74% of kids spend less than 60 minutes playing outside daily, compared to the hour of outdoor exercise that prison inmates get per day.
"Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates, according to a new survey revealing the extent to which time playing in parks, wood and fields has shrunk. A fifth of the children did not play outside at all on an average day, the poll found."
Reasons why kids spend so little time playing outdoors include parental worry about the safety of playing outside, a lack of green spaces in which to play, and - of course - the endless appeal of screens.
I've always adhered closely to the 11 o'clock rule in my house which basically means that on a non-school day and before my kids started school, I always endeavoured to get them outside by 11 o'clock in the morning. It never really mattered whether we went for a quick wander round the block or an epic walk to the river to feed the ducks - the point was that we all fared better when the kids had the opportunity to get out of doors and soak up some fresh air. So I'm a big believer in the value of outdoor time for kids but I appreciate that it's not always that easy to achieve.
We're fortunate to live in a coastal town where opportunities to play outside safely are abundant. My kids have practically grown up on the beach but had we remained living in the city where my eldest was born, then my kids would be having completely different childhoods, with far fewer opportunities to play outside.
Which is why I love the story about the school in Liverpool where all pupils are made to run a mile several times a week.
The Liverpool Echo reports:
All Saints Catholic Primary School in Anfield says pupils' fitness, motivation and behaviour has improved since the regular running sessions were introduced. Children are required to run laps of the playground, clocking up a mile at a time.
Maybe more schemes like this could help tackle the issue of children not getting enough daily exercise outdoors - but we'd love to hear your views on this. If your children spend less than an hour outside per day, how do you feel about that? And what do you think it would take to change things for the better?