Balance Technology With Outdoor Play Time for Healthier Kids

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Many children are too busy tweeting to go outside and hear a real tweet. Kids today spend an average of seven hours per day using electronic media but only four to seven minutes outside in unstructured outdoor play time.
“The importance of media in today’s world is indisputable, but a sky’s-the-limit approach to technology can have a powerful downside for kids if it’s not tempered with something more down to earth,” said Lindsay Legendre, manager of the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement — an effort to get more children outdoors more often.
Research shows that spending time outdoors makes kids grow lean and strong, enhances their imaginations and gives them time to let off steam and just be kids. The Kaiser Family Foundation says children who spend too much time with technology are more likely to get fair or poor grades. As a result of research like this. NWF’s Be Out There movement created the “Outdoor Play for Every Day: A Parent’s Guide for Overcoming Common Obstacles to Kids and Outdoor Play,” which is loaded with tips and activities to help parents overcome the lure of technology and other common obstacles to getting kids outdoors.
Consider the following suggestions to maximize outdoor time while making peace with media and technology:
* Monkey See/Monkey Do. Set a good example about limiting tech time, and your kids will be more likely to follow suit. Talk to your kids, and let everyone have a say on the amount of time that screens will be used each week so ground rules are clear up front.
* Pay to Play. Encourage kids to earn screen time by balancing it with equal amounts of reading, chores or playing outside. Len Saunders, author of “Keeping Kids Fit” and father of two, suggests that for every hour of physical activity, kids earn 30 minutes of tech time.
* Let ‘Em Pick. Offer kids a set amount of screen time each day and let them decide how to use it (watch TV, play video games or surf the web). If the weather is nice, and they want to trade their screen time for playing outdoors, they can bank their screen time for use on a rainy day.
* Go Geocaching. Take your kids on an outdoor adventure that combines popular GPS technology and a treasure hunt. Don’t have a GPS? There are several smart phone apps that can do the trick. Learn more at www.Rangerricktrails.com.
For parents who want their kids to enhance their physical and mental health by playing outside more often, the Be Out There Parent Guide is a valuable resource. Find the Guide and more ideas for enjoying outdoor time at www.beoutthere.org.

Combat Childhood Sleep Problems With Outdoor Fun

Parents are hearing a lot these days about the hazards of today’s “indoor childhood,” with kids spending countless hours on electronic media. But one consequence may be going undetected. National Wildlife Federation’s new parent guide highlights the connection between the time kids spend playing outdoors and sleep deprivation.

According to NWF Guide, young children and teens are losing anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of sleep a week. Sleep deprivation can stunt physical growth, impede performance at school, lead to anxiety or depression and contribute to future health problems like obesity. Making matters worse, children are generally bad judges of the amount of sleep they really need.

Outdoor Play Time Can Enhance Children’s Sleep

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Parents are hearing a lot these days about the hazards of today’s “indoor childhood,” with kids spending countless hours on electronic media. But one consequence may be going undetected. National Wildlife Federation’s new parent guide highlights the connection between the time kids spend playing outdoors and sleep deprivation.
According to NWF Guide, young children and teens are losing anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of sleep a week. Sleep deprivation can stunt physical growth, impede performance at school, lead to anxiety or depression and contribute to future health problems like obesity. Making matters worse, children are generally bad judges of the amount of sleep they really need.
Outdoor time improves a child’s sleep in three critical ways. Natural light from the sun regulates the body’s internal “sleep clock,” which makes children more alert during the day, and tired at night. Research also demonstrates that natural, green settings are relaxing and calming for children, and yield other cognitive benefits. Lastly, outside exercise develops better motor skills and encourages creativity.
“While there is no single solution to childhood sleep deprivation, part of having a well-rested child involves trading some screen time for green time,” says Kevin Coyle, NWF vice president of education and training, and author of NWF Guide. “More play time in natural settings can help kids get a high-quality night’s sleep.”
To foster awareness and healthier amounts of pillow time, the NWF guide “Green Time for Sleep Time” offers parents helpful advice about improving sleeping habits by exposing children to more outdoor play time every day.
NWF’s parents guide advocates trimming down children’s consumption of electronic entertainment and balancing it with some outdoor play time every day. It’s also important to disengage kids from their tech devices at least an hour before bedtime so they can settle down and be ready for the sand man to arrive.
Green Time for Sleep Time is available from NWF, along with activities to make outdoor time fun time at www.beoutthere.org.

There’s a Reason They Call it “The Great Outdoors”

<b>There’s a Reason They Call it “The Great Outdoors”</b>“></td>
<td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The world has changed -; Wii has replaced “Wheeeee!” Tweeting is no longer for the birds, and Blackberries aren’t for picking on a warm summer afternoon. Kids today spend twice as much time indoors than their counterparts two decades ago.

But technology can be a great ally for families who want to spend more time in nature.

NatureFind, National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) recently redesigned and re-launched online search tool, helps modern kids discover old-fashioned outdoor fun. NatureFind (www.nwf.org/naturefind) is a part of NWF’s Be Out There campaign, a mom-led movement to raise happier, healthier children with a lifelong appreciation for nature.

NatureFind users can search by city, state or zip code to access outdoor adventures nationwide, including nature activities and events, trails, aviaries, wildlife preserves, regional parks, zoos and campsites. With NatureFind, families get detailed information that will help them explore nature up to 500 miles away or right around the corner.

The next puddle-jumping excursion or fishing trip with grandpa is just a few clicks away. “NatureFind makes spending time outside easy for families,” says Rebecca Garland, Executive Director of NWF’s Be Out There campaign. “It puts the benefits of the great outdoors as close as your fingertips.”

The benefits of green time to children’s minds and bodies can be seen immediately by the experts -; their moms. “When we go outside, my kids become their best selves. Gone are the petty arguments about whose turn it is to go first or what to do next.

Suddenly the kids are creative, digging in the dirt, picking up worms, jumping and laughing,” says Be Out There mom Renee Limon, co-founder of EnviroMom.com and Portland mother of two girls, ages 5 and 7.

Each of the more than 9,200 locations and 30,000 events in the NatureFind database is accurately confirmed by a member of the NatureFind staff.

Hundreds of new locations and events are added daily.

To get started on your next family outdoor adventure, go to www.nwf.org/naturefind.