PLAYING OUTSIDE IS A RIGHT!
Enduring a new lockdown, families of the Netherlands badly need nature and space. Most of them feel it. But there are still some exceptions. Fear of the pandemic, of the future, may petrify and bring some adults to stay indoors, almost all the time. And to keep their kids indoors as well. This is really worrying. To raise awareness about this, our team compiled and shared with schools several resources about the utmost importance of taking the children outdoors EVERY DAY. Feel free to share this page, if you believe it may help some of the children in your entourage to finally step outside.
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ARTICLE 1: ‘CHILDREN AT RISK OF LASTING PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS FROM CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN’: SAVE THE CHILDREN
"In recent surveys by Save the Children of over 6000 children and parents in the US, Germany, Finland, Spain and the UK, up to 65 per cent of the children struggled with boredom and feelings of isolation."
"Prolonged stress, boredom and social isolation, as well as a lack of outdoor play, can lead to a higher number of mental health conditions in children, such as anxiety and even depression."
"Anne-Sophie Dybdal, Senior Child Protection Advisor at the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Unit of Save the Children, said: “People who are outside regularly have a lower activity in the part of the brain that focuses on repetitive negative emotions. This is one of the reasons children can slide into negative feelings or even depression during the circumstances they are living in now.”
"Marie Dahl, Head of Save the Children’s Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Unit, said: “While children are resilient, we cannot underestimate the impact the pandemic is having on their mental wellbeing and overall health. Children in a stable environment are likely to fare better,"
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ARTICLE 2: PROMOTING HEALTHY MOVEMENT BEHAVIOURS AMONG CHILDREN DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
"Parents and carers should incorporate physical activity into children's daily routine [...]and access to outdoor spaces"
"Global movement behaviour guidelines recommend that preschool children (aged 3 to 4 years) accumulate at least 180 min physical activity, engage in no more than 1h sedentary screen time"
"It’s not too late for educators, parents and superintendents to take steps that allow kids to learn in fresh air settings at least part of the time »
"Letting millions of students head outdoors is one of the best ways to ensure that kids (and ultimately their families and communities) are not exposed to coronavirus all day long sitting inside school buildings."
"Nearly all epidemiological studies show that chances of COVID-19 infection are dramatically reduced out-of-doors."
" She also highlights the negative mental health effects of screen time for all children, many of whom are already suffering increased stress due to the pandemic, confinement at home, the economic crisis, racism and unrest in their communities."
"This moment offers an opportunity for us to move learning outside in natural settings, which are restorative and calming. This will reduce cortisol [fight-or-flight] hormones in children, which science shows improves students’ overall cognition and health.”
"Reduced Stress and Heightened Well-Being: “In green schoolyards, students find peace away from stresses in the classroom and daily life,”
“Because nature-based pedagogy treats the whole child — their physiological, physical, emotional and intellectual development as well as academic success,” explains Cathy Jordan, a pediatrics professor at the University of Minnesota and C&NN’s Consulting Director of Research."
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ARTICLE 4. THE “INDOOR GENERATION” AND THE HEALTH RISKS OF SPENDING MORE TIME INSIDE
Excerpts of the results of a study, which surveyed around 16,000 people across 14 countries in North America and Europe:
''While most survey respondents reported that they think they spend around two-thirds of their time inside, the number is actually quite a bit higher. Previous research has found that around 90 percent of people spend close to 22 hours inside every day. One in six respondents to the YouGov survey, too, admitted that they practically never go outside, spending up to 24 hours a day indoors.''
"This detachment from the natural world — and natural sunlight, specifically — can have negative impacts, and can even have deleterious effects as serious as respiratory problems or Seasonal Affective Disorder. The YouGov report notes that around 15 percent of the world’s population is affected by different levels of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or winter depression, which may be a direct result of lack of daylight."
"Indoor air can be up to five times as polluted as outdoor air (a fact that almost 80 percent of survey respondents didn’t know)."
"Indoor lighting levels are around 300-500 lux, which is enough light for going about your daily routine, but not enough to regulate biological rhythms requiring a minimum of 1,000 lux. This is another element of wellbeing that people are largely unaware of: Only about half (53 percent) of the YouGov survey respondents knew that daylight has a significant impact on sleep."
"So many kids are kept indoors now, instead of being allowed to play and roam outside, that the issue is being positioned as a children’s rights concern."
"By not allowing kids to play unsupervised outdoors and be in situations where they must assess risk for themselves, parents limit essential learning and developmental opportunities for children, while also reducing their physical activity and increasing sedentary."
"Access to active play in nature and outdoors—with its risks— is essential for healthy child development. We recommend increasing children’s opportunities for self-directed play outdoors in all settings—at home, at school, in child care, the community and nature.”
"Outdoor play is safer than you think! The odds of total stranger abduction are about 1 in 14 million based on RCMP reports. Being with friends outdoors may further reduce this number."
“There are consequences to keeping children indoors. When children spend more time in front of screens they are more likely to be exposed to cyber-predators and violence, and eat unhealthy snacks.”
"Reduced physical activity elevates the odds of contracting non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer and mental health problems. Indoor air is often unhealthy, exposing kids to allergens, infectious diseases, and potentially chronic conditions (and, I would add, off-gassing chemicals in furniture, carpets, and paint)."
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ARTICLE 6: SILENT TRAUMA OF CHILDREN FACING THE STRICTEST LOCKDOWN IN EUROPE (SPAIN, APRIL 2020)
“ We have spent more than a month at home with two small children, who haven’t left home for even one single day,” said Colau. “These children need to get out.”
"Politicians of all stripes have echoed her call, as have hundreds of doctors, psychologists and educators, citing concerns about children’s ability to manage issues such as anxiety and stress while being kept entirely indoors."
"The results of this rigid confinement for children are beginning to show, particularly in urban areas with limited domestic spaces, with increased levels of stress and anxiety,” the letter read, urging that children be let out for at least one hour each day."
"Not doing so, it added, risks their “wellbeing, their health and their physical and mental development”.
"We’re seeing more children with nervousness, more with insomnia, more with chest and stomach pains,” said Madrid paediatrician Alicia Arévalo.»
"She argued that the issue was fundamentally one of human rights. “By law, children have the right to fresh air, sunlight, movement, play and contact with other children,” she said. “In my view, a society that doesn’t put its children ahead of everything – that doesn’t ensure their needs are met – is sliding back towards barbarism. It’s completely inhumane.”