Why do we lock up our little girls indoors?

What's going in school these days? Teachers are facing a lot more pressure to make sure kids succeed and, thus, one big thing is suffering: recess. Meanwhile, at home kids aren't getting enough rest time either. A new study showed that parents are not taking kids outside to play as often, and unfortunately, little girls are the ones who suffer the most.

I remember recess as being one of my favorite times of day. There are classes I liked, of course, like art and writing. But recess was fun, I got to talk to my friends and run around like a lunatic. What I didn't realize at the time, of course is that it gave me a much-needed mental break from schoolwork, something that kids don't seem to be getting much of these days.

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Getting outside and reconnecting with nature is an important part of everyday life. Or at least it used to be. A new study showed that nearly half of preschoolers don't get outside to play with their parents every day. Even worse, girls are less likely to go outside, possibly because of the long-held stereotype that boys like to play sports while girls like to play house.

Meanwhile, even when they're getting to school the kids aren't getting to go outside. Not only do kids without recess appear "fried", according to a study conducted by author and developmental pediatrician Romina Barros, M.D., but the rates of childhood obesity could also be kept down if kids had more time for recess. Another study found that 42% of the nation's schoolchildren get most of their daily exercise during recess. And with the rates of obesity only growing (and the body image issues and eventual life and pregnancy complications that follow), why aren't we encouraging more kids—especially girls—to get outdoors?

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One thing is very clear to me: with the pressures of education these days, parents and teachers are doing everything they can to help their daughters and sons succeed. Everything, that is, except giving them a break to recharge. So what can parents do to make sure that our little girls are getting enough exercise and a mental break? First, make sure your child's school still has recess—then take her outside to play. You'll have fun, bond and she'll get exactly what she needs right now.  

How are you making sure that your kids get outside every day, either at home or during recess at school?

Image via cinnablythe/flickr