Why free play is so important for children

Swapping the screen for the great outdoors has never been more important for children. But how much exercise do your children get?

Experts agree children need 60 minutes of physical activity each day, yet according to statistics very few Irish children get that much, leading to a wide range of health problems.

While studies show increased risk factors for ‘low fit’ children – with some even showing signs of cardiovascular disease at just 15 years of age — a lack of physical activity can also affect children psychologically.

Joanna Fortune, a clinical psychotherapist specialising in child and adolescent psychotherapy, says today’s kids suffer high levels of anxiety due to a lack of exercise and open air play. “Modern children spend too much time in their heads. They go from school to homework to their computer screens. The reality is that children need down-time to do nothing, to use their imaginations and explore their sense of self,” she says.

Supporting your children to get active outdoors and use their imaginations for unstructured play is an important part protecting their physical and mental health. As a result, Ms Fortune says, they will improve emotionally, psychologically, cognitively, physically, and they are more likely to achieve academically as a result.

We all want the best for our children and to set them up for vibrant, healthy futures. To discover how a health insurance plan can support their development, talk to Hennelly Finance, Ireland’s go-to health insurance advisor, on 091 670 123 today.

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