Children Wellness And Well Being

Children Wellness And Well Being

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Children Wellness And Well Being

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Children Wellness And Well Being

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Discuss about the Children Wellness and Well-Being.

The Importance of Active Play on Children’s Wellness & Well Being
According to the Active Kids program in Australia whose main goal to ensure that Australian children of age below 12 years are not only ready to learn but health and fit; there is need for at least 60 minutes of active physical play (McMurray & Clendon, 2011). Active play for children is an essential requirement especially that first; it prevents the worldwide increasing trend of obesity and its risk among them. According to Sellers et al, (2005), children who are overweight at the age of 3 years are likely to be overweight in their adult life. Obesity predisposes the children to early diabetes and cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension. Active play therefore enables the children to break down excess calories regularly and prevents them from developing obesity. Obesity and low self-esteem among children of schooling age have a correlation in that the children feel disappointed with their size and shape as they sometimes face ridicule from friends. Studies indicate that about a fifth of children under the age of 12 years in Australia are overweight (Kearns, 2010). Further, it is shown that disadvantaged children particularly socio-economically and even geographically are prone to obesity because of inadequacy, unavailability and inaccessibility of not only affordable fresh foodstuffs like fruits and vegetables but also lack exercise opportunities. This socioeconomic disadvantage to in addition to obesity according to McMurray & Clendon (2011), negatively impacts on children’s self-esteem while at the same time limiting their way of developing and maintaining friendships with each other.  Therefore active play boosts a child’s social skills and their confidence among peers
Active play promotes healthy growth and development among the children. It is important to note that more time given to children especially for music and dance enables them grow their muscles and bones (McMurray & Clendon, 2011). Exercises that include running, jumping, rolling, crawling, skipping  that exercise the large and small muscles of the body help the children grow and develop their gross motor and fine motor skills respectively(Kearns, 2010). In regard to development, brain-researchers have indicated that movements in a child’s early stage not only stimulate their brain but also make it develop fully. Through dancing to music rhythm, children learn to coordinate their body parts and muscles. Body coordination relies on practice which involves gross and fine motor skills in children like jumping, crawling, running, dancing among others.  
 Another importance of active play is that it helps children to have an improved physical balance and posture while at the same time enables relaxation (Strunk & Bussel, 2015).  Through active play, children are able to understand the concept of space such as under, over, low, high, deep, shallow and therefore maintain a healthy posture and balance of their bodies (Kearns, 2010). Children can develop their skills of hopping, skipping, balancing on objects, catching or throwing them especially by using bean-bags mainly through active play. It is however paramount that playgrounds, and the facilities provided are easy to use, safe and enough to suit all sorts of play for children. 
The Role of Early Childhood Centres towards Extending the Importance of Active Outdoor Play to Children

Provision of More time for Active Play

To realize the benefits of active play in children, childhood centres need to ensure that there is more time, for every child for active play .According to the Active Kids program in Australia, a child is entitled to at least 60 minutes a day for active play (McMurray & Clendon, 2011). This requirement includes infants below one year, toddlers (1 to 3-year olds) and pre-schoolers (3 to 5-year olds) and even those between the ages of 6 to 12 years in Australia. Despite the requirement that 60 minutes should be the minimum allocated for daily active play sessions, research indicates that one quarter of Australian children are not provided with this need. It is likely that this number is the most likely one that will translate to high chances of childhood and adulthood obesity within the Australian population.  Limiting play-time means that children have little time to play, interact with each other and develop interest in games. In fact, one of the benefits of active play is that it makes children gain interest in different sporting activities which can help them stay healthy and fit (Kearns, 2010). This option is curtailed by the short periods of time provided to children in early childhood centres that are not aware of the importance of active play and those that remain noncompliant. Early childhood centres should emphasize more on outdoor activities in quest to develop the wellness and well-being of children (Sellers et al, 2005). This is because some indoor activities like watching TV programs beyond 2 hours makes the children more vulnerable to obesity.  This is based on the argument by McMurray & Clendon (2011) that those children who watch TV beyond 2 hours are likely to; be physically inactive, drink a lot of sugary drinks, use snacks that have a lot of sugar and fat.  In this regard, indoor sessions which may involve the use of computers and TV should mainly be educational in nature and should not last beyond 2 hours. This can also help the children find time to interact with others within the centres and in the neighbourhood.

Provision of more facilities & Equipment

Active play is only possible if there are enough facilities, playing equipment and sufficient numbers of caretakers within during play sessions. Outdoor active play therefore requires that an early childhood centre has a satisfactory size of play ground with enough facilities (Hall et al, 2013). Among some of the most common facilities for child play include ropes for skipping, balls, balancing boards, cones, tunnels, boxes, ladders, ribbons, scarves, bean bags, slides, planks among others. In encouraging active play, there is need for caretakers to let the children play freely with the equipment. Even so, the caretakers need to join in the play while encouraging, advising, supporting and carrying out demonstrations (Kearns, 2010). Caretakers also can help the children understand and adopt the relevant language which is related to the type of game or play they are involved in.  In playgrounds where children have to slide, swing, climb ladders, there is need also to provide sufficient cushioning for them to land on (Hall et al, 2013). In terms of developing a child’s body coordination, muscular strength and bones, music and dance sessions should be availed. Early childhood care takers can instruct children on random dances which are rigorous and appropriate for exercising their muscles, joints and bones.

More space for Active Play

Early childhood centres should first provide enough space for children to play freely. The playground should be enough to host the outdoor playing facilities and should match with the population of children using the facilities (Carlisle, 2012). This means that the higher the number of children at a childhood centre, the larger the playground is supposed to be.  Under the Active Kids program in Australia, the ministry of health requires that schools with early childhood sections have playing facilities that are  safe, sufficient and to standards. The local governments also insist on proof of availability of playing facilities before such institutions are given permit to operate (McMurray & Clendon, 2011). To extend the necessity and benefits of outdoor play for children, there is need therefore for ECD centres to ensure that the space provided is both safe and not obstructed. Children and caretakers should be able to move around playing freely without commotion for a minimum of 60 minutes in a day.
Carlisle, R. (2012). Space for active play, designing play spaces for older children (8–12 years). Journal Of Science And Medicine In Sport, 15, S265.
Hall, J., Vierregger, A., Koszewski, W., Anderson-Knott, M., & Albrecht, J. (2013). Growing Healthy Kids: K-2 Teacher Training Program. Journal Of Nutrition Education And Behavior, 45(4), S83.
Kearns, K. (2010). Children’s health, safety and wellbeing. The big picture. French’s Forest, NSW. Pearson Australia: 143-149. 
McMurray, A., & Clendon, J. (2011), Healthy Children. In Community health and wellness: primary health care in practice. (4th ed.) (pp. 170-206) Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier Australia. 
Robbins, G., et al (229). Understanding wellness. A wellness way of life. New York, McGraw-Hill: 7-14. 
Sellers, K., Russo, T.J., Baker, I., & Dennison, B.A. (2005) The role of childcare providers in the prevention of childhood overweight. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 3(3), 227-242 Retrieved from 
Strunk, S., & Bussel, J. (2015). The Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities National Program. Journal Of Public Health Management And Practice, 21, S1-S3.
Tannock, M. (2009). Young children’s rough and tumble play: Developing effective policies for educators of pre-schoolers. Children Australia, 34(04), 13-16.

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