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Children need three hours a day outdoors - to protect against myopia.

Otis going down hill on Balance Bike

I recently read there is no causative link between screen time (yay!) and myopia however time spent outdoors has been found to be a protective factor. Have you seen this see-through classroom in China - they bring more light into the classroom to combat the myopia epidemic. 

At school both of my children can work outdoors if they like, they have an outdoor classroom which is a bit of a Montessori concept that the children can work seamlessly from inside to outside. I know most of us would agree that Forest or Nature Schools are such a fantastic idea where the built classroom no longer exists. 

Knowing my children are at school for most of the day and that it is now winter, the days are getting shorter and darker, we have been making more of an effort to spend at least 40 minutes outside every day after school. Most of the time we go for a walk or take a ball down to the park. This lovely area pictured is not walking distance, so we stop on the way home from school, and keep bikes and balls in the boot of the car.

The Australian researcher in this report estimates children need around three hours a day outside or in the equivalent light. Without knowing what the boys do at school, I don't know if we achieve this every day, on the weekends definitely yes. This report isn't conclusive, I would suggest that the benefit of spending time outdoors is more than exposure to light. The children are moving faster, looking and focusing on things over distances. And there is the physical movement. But I think the takeaway point is children need to be spending more time outdoors, no matter where they live or what they are doing.   

Otis on balance bike at How we Montessori

The key to getting this extra time outside for all of us is making it convenient. We love to take a hike in some bushland or head to the beach on the weekends, but these are not options on weekdays. Often we will stop at a playground, but I find these so boring. I want to be moving myself, so we grab Otis' balance bike, and I take a brisk walk or run.  It is almost time for Otis to move to a pedal bike, we have been encouraging him, but for now, I am happy with whatever he chooses. 

Otis on balanace bike, at How we Montessori June 2016

Soak in all that light Otis!

Otis with his balance bike

Our Balance Bike is c/o Child.com.au (the red version is currently 20% off here). 

Does this sound reasonable to you, do your children spend three hours a day outdoors?

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