We’ve been a little down and out around here the past week or so. The kids have been fighting fevers which has then translated into not sleeping well and therefore all of us stumbling through the day (or week) in a daze. As ANY parent knows, it simply isn’t fun.
It got me thinking a lot about how sick my kids are and how that translates into how much time I let them spend outside. I started to wonder if people that KNEW they were really sick would question my motives as a mom when they saw us out walking or playing in the yard. I could just see the questions forming: “shouldn’t you be home?”; “shouldn’t they be camped out on the couch?”; “they don’t LOOK sick!”
But, here’s the thing: I FULLY believe that fresh air helps their ability to get well faster than any amount of couch time could. They breathe better, they “clear out their systems” better, they nap better and they are a whole lot less whiney.
Granted, we stay away from public parks or other kids to avoid spreading the “fun”, but playing at home in the yard (or even resting outside) is much better than indoor time with stale air.
- Yes, we spend more time in the TV when we are sick
- Yes, there are times when being outdoors just isn’t possible for long stretches of time (think stomach flu…)
- Yes, more often than not, sick kids = grumpy kids which means more melt-downs outside. BUT, they also tend to forget their ailments just for a bit (that fresh air sure is amazing….)
- Yes, I even send them outside when sick in the winter…
When the weather is a little less than desirable, but the fresh air is needed:
- We make sure they are adequately dressed and staying warm.
- Toddlers/infants may spend most or all the time in a protected stroller (like the Chariot) or in a carrier on us (though still benefitting from the fresh air)
- The time tends to be more limited
I did some research trying to come up with the facts about WHY kids should be outside when they were sick and really met a lot of dead ends as far as “scientific” facts. However, the general consensus (through forums and others talking about similar topics) was the knowledge that kids recover faster with fresh air. I DID find this article that points to the fact that a vitamin D (AKA sunlight…) deficiency in sick kids could actually make them sicker and this one about it being completely normal for Scandinavian kids to sleep outdoors. Both have some great points.
I want to know: Do you let your kids play outside when they are sick? Do you in fact make a conscious effort to increase their outdoor time because they are sick (naps in strollers, on blankets or in carriers, etc.?) Anyone have any good hard scientific evidence about why you should send them outdoors when sick to help support my case?
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