Monday, July 09, 2007

No Child Left Inside

I came across this Connecticut initiative while cruising some of the State Park's sites. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection wants to encourage Connecticut families and visitors to enjoy all the recreational resources and outside activities that the state has to offer. It's a great idea, since kids are living much more sedentary lives. With the onset of No Child Left Behind, "testable" topics of education has been emphasized, and arts and physical education has been de-emphasized. Many schools have realized this mistake, so they are now making efforts to correct it by instituting minimum activity standards, between recess and formal P.E. programs. At my daughter's school, now recess cannot be taken away as a punishment or as a time to use to catch up on missed work to underscore the importance of physical activity.

It reminded me of what I learned from reading Fat Proof Your Family: God's Way to Forming Healthy Habits for Life. Most kids and adults are not meeting the minimum activity levels, but one recommendation that he gave is that if children are made to play outside, they are guaranteed to get more activity than if they are sitting inside (reading, watching TV or playing video games), which is a goal for my children. Here are the daily guidelines taken from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, printed on page 157:
  • Toddler-- 1 1/2 hours (30 minutes of planned physical activity and 60 minutes unstructured free play)
  • Preschooler-- 2 hours (60 minutes of planned physical activity and 60 minutes unstructured free play)
  • School Age-- 1 hour or more (break up into sessions of 15 minutes or more)

For my full review of Fat Proof Your Family and a chance to win a copy, click on over to

3 comments:

Beck said...

TWO HOURS! Oh, I am FAILING as a mother! :)

Joyful Days said...

My boys are very active. But it's me that needs a kick. I read your review and put my name in. I liked the family activity idea--we've been saying we need to golf as a family and swimming would be something I would enjoy too.

Thanks, Jennifer.

Katrina said...

Chad tells stories of how his mom would send the kids (all 8 of them!!) outside with strict instructions that they weren't to come back in until lunchtime. I don't do that, but I do find myself telling Camden (who loves to be INside), "Go outside. And stay outside for at least 20 minutes." Then we try to all go outside in the evenings, which he likes (because then he has company out there). Camden's active whether he's inside or out, so I'm not worried about his activity level, but he does need to get out more, to enjoy what can be done outside, etc. Of course, I'm not one to talk, since I have an affinity for my air-conditioned living room. :)