I am guilty. I let my children play on the iPod and laptop and also watch Disney Channel. Now that our family is in Saudi Arabia, a very private country and private people, we are challenged with “what to do?” In the US, they would ride their bikes, swim and play at the park. Here in the desert, the daily temperature is 100, so going outdoors happens rarely during the day time. So, technology has come to the rescue! Deep down, though, I know that they need to be outside! I investigated how much damage that I am actually doing to them, this summer. This is what I found out…..
“Natural sunlight actually makes people happier! It stimulates the pineal gland, the part of the brain that regulates the “biological clock,” which is vital to a healthy immune system. Playing outdoors, allows children to learn through all 5 senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell). Children who spend too much time learning from the tv, computers and video games are using only two senses (hearing and sight), which can seriously affect their perceptual abilities.”
Granted, it is summer time still and school will begin in less than 2 weeks. Schools have playgrounds here, that are covered in sheltering tarps. So, I have no doubt that they will we will get the outdoor experience that our bodies crave. I always hated being outdoors in the US, but now I crave it!
So, now, I must go outside today and have some fun smelling the grass (flowers by our door entry), touching the ground (sand), tasting fresh fruit (dates here in Saudi), seeing the sunset and hearing the birds sing (pigeons). I already know that happiness will follow!
Until then, I guess I will be a bad parent…just kidding. Some evenings, we do go for a walk at the beach. We enjoy the sunlight as we walk from the parking lot to the mall. Ok, who am I kidding. I have some improvements to do. Any suggestions? -Andrea
- Do Outdoor Experiences Help Shape Children’s Brains? (phippsscienceeducation.org)
- Outdoor play linked to better quality sleep, says guide (time4sleep.co.uk)