Kids Need to Play, Math Can Come Later

toddler playgroundKnow what's super-fun this time of year? Dragging your toddler outdoors to play. I'm kidding, of course. Actually, it's a total pain. Not only do you have all the extra winter gear, but it's COLD outside, and who wants to hang out at the playground in 30-degree weather? It can get pretty hard to motivate yourself to get out. But I did it anyway because otherwise my kid would explode.

But what about the rest of the year? A survey of daycare staff in Ohio shows that toddlers are too inactive. I know older kids are turning into couch potatoes (hello, got one of my own at home), but toddlers? I thought the little human rocket ships couldn't sit still!  Yet according to the daycare workers, parents are pushing early classroom learning so much that toddlers aren't getting the physical activity they need.


I didn't even know this was a trend. I mean, I knew we were starting with the reading and writing at earlier and earlier ages, but this is kind of nuts. Toddlers? Back when my son was a little one, my main priority for finding a preschool was getting enough outdoor playtime. I didn't care if they were learning songs in German or memorizing the multiplication tables -- I just wanted to make sure my son would be at the playground every day, running around and learning to share. I picked my preschool partly because it was right across the street from a playground, in fact.

So this makes me a little sad. I think if the parents at my son's preschool were demanding more inside time -- at desks -- I'd be pretty peeved. Maybe it depends on your kid. We actually left a parent-child program because the class required my son to sit still and quiet for what seemed like impossibly long periods of time. So not only is reduced active time a bummer for toddlers, I can't imagine how hard it would be on the daycare or preschool workers! I get a headache just thinking about how they manage it.

I don't know -- I hope this trend disappears soon. It sounds hard on everyone -- the toddlers, the workers, even the parents, who get cranky, wound-up kids at the end of the day. It's bad enough that recess is disappearing from elementary and middle school. I hope we don't see the end of recess in daycare centers and preschools, too!

Do you know if your toddler gets outdoor time at their daycare center or preschool? Is that a priority for you?


Image via London Looks/Flickr


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