“There have always been kids who enjoy sports and outdoor play most, and there have always been kids who prefer reading, writing and playing video games.” —Amee Severson, registered dietitian nutritionist
Raise your hand, fellow Indoor Kitties! I spent my first 8 years living in apartment buildings without our own outdoor space, so my definition of “play” was reading, drawing, and making up the life stories of my dolls and stuffed animals. To be clear: I was entirely content with this. I hated sports and wasn’t much for playgrounds either. (Still hate playgrounds, tbh. Oh, and sports. And sledding. #funmom) But it meant that I didn’t really do physical activity until I became a diet-y teenager—and it took me until my 30s to figure out a relationship with movement that was actually fun, not weight-loss-based, and intrinsically rewarding. I would love our kids to get there sooner.
Right now, there is a ton of anxiety about how much time kids spend indoors, not moving—and because we’re…us (glances affectionately around at diet culture), that means we’re anxious about what that lowered physical activity means for our kids’ weight. But if you were previously thinking about your child’s physical activity level as a weight management strategy…*that* was the problem. I loved interviewing Amee Severson for this piece because she articulated so clearly why we need to stop privileging certain kinds of childhood play and extracurricular activities over others, and instead, help all kids find their own unique passions. And if we want one of those passions to be movement or outdoor play, we need to uncouple that from weight concerns asap.
Were you an indoorsy or an outdoorsy kid? And what factors contributed to that sense of yourself?
More in my latest New York Times Parenting piece, which you can read here.