Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why kids spend so little time outside?

Have you ever wondered why children are beginning to spend less and less time outside?

An article in the NY Times suggests its the what they call, "the flip flop factor." Outdoor play at day care centers is often stifled because a child arrives wearing flip-flops or without a coat or because teachers don’t feel like going outside.

A study by Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center held focus groups with staff members at 34 area child care centers to learn more about how kids spend their time in day care and the reasons they may or may not spend time outside.

Many of their answers may surprise you. Day care workers keep children inside if they show up in flip-flops rather than sneakers or if they don’t have a coat on a chilly day. Sometimes, it was suggested, that if only one child arrived without a coat the whole class was kept inside, most likely due to supervision issues. A teacher cannot supervise students both inside and out.

According to the Times article, "Some workers said outdoor play is too much trouble because it requires time to bundle up kids during cold weather. Other staff members just said they didn’t like going outside."