Parenting: The importance of outside play time

October 4, 2011

Whether it's hide and go seek or climbing a tree, experts are urging today's parents to make sure children are spending time outside playing.

Certainly video games and television are two of the biggest culprits, but a hyper-vigilant parent may also be at fault.

Another reason why parents keep kids indoors? Fear of abduction, along with worries about bullying or playing in the street.

And while those fears may be legitimate, author Hara Estroff Marano says over-protective parents may create so-called "wimps", who are unable to cope with the ups and downs of life because they have no experience doing so. Marano's book by the way is called "A nation of wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting".

Some health experts say parents who don't allow kids the freedom to play may be stunting their child's development.

When children are allowed to play, they make up games, negotiate rules and make sure others are playing fair. And experts say all of that helps to teach kids how to make decisions, solve problems, and gain self-control.

And hovering parents can also deprive their children of something else - fun and joy.

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