Drug testing

Clean Kid Syndrome - Does Your Child Suffer from it?

The learning and development of Australian kids is under threat because they're not playing outdoors, engaging in constructive, creative play.

A nationwide Newspoll survey revealed that the average kid is spending at most, just 10 percent of their free time playing outdoors at home. Alarmingly one in 20 parents (5%) admits when their kids are at home they NEVER play outdoors. Instead the majority of Australian kids are spending far more time indoors, watching television, playing computer games or playing with toys.

Years of research shows that constructive play is an essential part of fostering inquisitive and strong minds. Playing outdoors is therefore key to normal development and lack of exposure to this kind of experience may put some children at a disadvantage.

Getting messy is how they learn, explore and express their creativity. It also helps them to stay healthy by encouraging them to exercise and by bolstering their immune system. Importantly it is through play that children learn to explore

The Newspoll study has revealed that the 'clean kid' syndrome is widespread. Two in five kids (40%) are permitted by their parents to get dirty no more than two or three times per week.

And, according to the research it's mainly because their parents are concerned about their child's safety, but also because they're worried about cleaning up any mess their kids make.

Almost all those parents polled (96%) said they wanted their kids to excel at school, in sport and socially, yet they're reluctant to let them kids get their hands dirty. One in four (23%) youngsters never get the chance to get messed up indoors either by cooking or doing craft activities.

It is clear also that Australian parents underestimate the benefits of free, unrestricted play for children as most would prefer their children to do homework than play outside.

So, just how restrictive has outdoor play become for Australia's youngest generation? Six in ten (62%) parents claim that as kids they spent more time playing outdoors getting dirty than their own children do now, including three in ten who spent more than twice as much time outdoors getting dirty as their children.

There is a clear need to rethink how children spend their free time and how their lives are organised. Australian parents are a well-intentioned, anxious, misinformed group. We all care greatly about our children's futures however in an effort to give them the best possible start in life we are run the danger of robbing of them of childhood that we are trying to protect.

For too long Australian parents have been fed the message that they need to start their children on the educational track from an early age. So kids from as young as two are routinely shunted around from one organised activity to another in an effort to maximise their development.

Parents need to be encouraged to buck the 'clean kid' trend and be less anxious about their kids getting messy. But where to start?

Let's start by insisting kids turn off the TV or computer and get outside more often. In a back to the future move let's introduce some old-fashioned activities such as finger painting, making mudpies, leaf stencilling and generally mucking all in the name of good clean fun.

Importantly, parents need to value the simple interactions that they have with children on a daily basis such as cleaning up a spill together or making a bed. From my experience parents underestimate the positive impact that these ordinary interactions have on children.

And it would be good for the well-being of both parents and kids if they spent some time getting down and dirty together. My hunch is that most parents do this anyway but they just don't value these messy experiences enough.

Michael Grose is Australia's leading parenting educator. He is the author of six books and gives over 100 presentations a year and appears regularly on television, radio and in print.

For further ideas to help you raise happy children and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas.com.au . While you are there subscribe to Happy Kids newsletter and receive a free report Seven ways to beat sibling rivalry.

In The News:

A lagoon in western Greece is starting to look more like an abandoned home's basement than a picturesque shoreline.
An angler in Georgia recently reeled in a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle off a pier in Tybee Island.
An alligator was spotted in a New Jersey township this week, authorities say -- and are asking people to report if they see the creature.
Residents affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Florence may have noticed something unusual floating in the storm’s floodwaters: “islands” of fire ants.
Two tiny explorers are pushing the bounds of their kind, but if scientists have their way, the two adventurers will soon have plenty of company.
A new study shows that dozens of ice volcanoes used to litter the surface of the dwarf planet, Ceres billions of years ago.
This is the moment a snorkeler swimming in Scotland spotted a huge dorsal fin behind his pal - and realized a massive shark was directly behind them.
Archaeologists believe they have found the final resting place of Captain James Cook's ship HMS Endeavour off the East Coast of America.
An actual astronaut has suggested he — or any qualified person — may be useful to tech billionaire Elon Musk’s planned round trip to the Moon in 2023.
An ancient, 2,000-year-old Roman cemetery has been found in Lincolnshire, England. Included in the find were pieces of pottery, skeletons and "grave goods" for the deceased.

Managing Your Stepfamily

If you are a member of a stepfamily, you know... Read More

Secret Of Your Genuis Child

Here is a top secret to make your child genius... Read More

When Your Chicks Leave the Nest

When my son was 18 (and had finished school), he... Read More

Parenting: Blending Familes - 9 Universal Laws

The law of -ing.The law of -ing refers to a... Read More

Give Your Child Life Skills for a Lifetime

Many parents struggle with solutions to put their child on... Read More

Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for Teen Drivers

Drivers 16 years of age have little driving experience, putting... Read More

Tips for the Classroom Teachers with ADHD Students

Thank you for all that you do in the classroom!... Read More

Uses for Dirty Diapers

As the father of a toddler, I am an expert... Read More

Getting Through to Your Teenager

Have you ever watched your teenager make a mistake (that... Read More

5 Simple Steps Guaranteed To Allow You To Spend More Time With Your Children This Summer

Look around: Your kids are counting sleeps until the last... Read More

Five Ways To Build Super-Strong Relationships With Your Children

One of the questions I ask in parenting presentations is... Read More

Surprising Fun Solution to Kids Moods and Attitudes

As a parent, are you at your wits end? Does... Read More

Is My Child Lazy?

Is there a difference between lazy and unmotivated? Why do... Read More

A Guide To Help You Teach Your Children Positve Self-Image Through Fitness

Raising a pre-teen or teenage daughter (or son) is not... Read More

The Old and the New

During one "generation gap" quarrel with his parents young Michael... Read More

Helping Your Child Develop

Here are some things that you can do to help... Read More

Parenting - Give Your Child The Tools To Build Strong Character And Values

There are many parenting styles. Yours may be very different... Read More

Parents, Teach Thought-Stopping! Fix Crooked Thinking Caps

Does your child pout, blame and brood? Does he gripe,... Read More

Top Ten Reasons to Hold Family Meetings

1. Make stronger connections among individuals and, therefore, creates a... Read More

Parents: You Can Do Something About Professional Sports Ethics

Most of us can agree that there is a lack... Read More

Detox To Help Conception

Detox To Conceive.. If you're having trouble conceiving... Read More

You Goofed? Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Certainly we all want our children to excel. But it... Read More

Teaching Kids to Read

We are all so very happy to see that the... Read More

Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson Never Went To Public School

Most of our Founding Fathers, including Ben Franklin, Sam Adams,... Read More

Revering the Crayon Marks

"Do not think that love, in order to be genuine,... Read More

outdoor walkway lighting led area floodlight Pete's produce ..