Clean Kid Syndrome - Does Your Child Suffer from it?

The learning and development of Australian kids is under threat because they're not playing outdoors, engaging in constructive, creative play.

A nationwide Newspoll survey revealed that the average kid is spending at most, just 10 percent of their free time playing outdoors at home. Alarmingly one in 20 parents (5%) admits when their kids are at home they NEVER play outdoors. Instead the majority of Australian kids are spending far more time indoors, watching television, playing computer games or playing with toys.

Years of research shows that constructive play is an essential part of fostering inquisitive and strong minds. Playing outdoors is therefore key to normal development and lack of exposure to this kind of experience may put some children at a disadvantage.

Getting messy is how they learn, explore and express their creativity. It also helps them to stay healthy by encouraging them to exercise and by bolstering their immune system. Importantly it is through play that children learn to explore

The Newspoll study has revealed that the 'clean kid' syndrome is widespread. Two in five kids (40%) are permitted by their parents to get dirty no more than two or three times per week.

And, according to the research it's mainly because their parents are concerned about their child's safety, but also because they're worried about cleaning up any mess their kids make.

Almost all those parents polled (96%) said they wanted their kids to excel at school, in sport and socially, yet they're reluctant to let them kids get their hands dirty. One in four (23%) youngsters never get the chance to get messed up indoors either by cooking or doing craft activities.

It is clear also that Australian parents underestimate the benefits of free, unrestricted play for children as most would prefer their children to do homework than play outside.

So, just how restrictive has outdoor play become for Australia's youngest generation? Six in ten (62%) parents claim that as kids they spent more time playing outdoors getting dirty than their own children do now, including three in ten who spent more than twice as much time outdoors getting dirty as their children.

There is a clear need to rethink how children spend their free time and how their lives are organised. Australian parents are a well-intentioned, anxious, misinformed group. We all care greatly about our children's futures however in an effort to give them the best possible start in life we are run the danger of robbing of them of childhood that we are trying to protect.

For too long Australian parents have been fed the message that they need to start their children on the educational track from an early age. So kids from as young as two are routinely shunted around from one organised activity to another in an effort to maximise their development.

Parents need to be encouraged to buck the 'clean kid' trend and be less anxious about their kids getting messy. But where to start?

Let's start by insisting kids turn off the TV or computer and get outside more often. In a back to the future move let's introduce some old-fashioned activities such as finger painting, making mudpies, leaf stencilling and generally mucking all in the name of good clean fun.

Importantly, parents need to value the simple interactions that they have with children on a daily basis such as cleaning up a spill together or making a bed. From my experience parents underestimate the positive impact that these ordinary interactions have on children.

And it would be good for the well-being of both parents and kids if they spent some time getting down and dirty together. My hunch is that most parents do this anyway but they just don't value these messy experiences enough.

Michael Grose is Australia's leading parenting educator. He is the author of six books and gives over 100 presentations a year and appears regularly on television, radio and in print.

For further ideas to help you raise happy children and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas.com.au . While you are there subscribe to Happy Kids newsletter and receive a free report Seven ways to beat sibling rivalry.

In The News:


Romper

Social Media Shames Kourtney Kardashian's Parenting & It's Totally Unnecessary
Romper
In another disapointing example of celebrities being shamed over social media, Kourtney Kardashian is the latest victim of faceless commenters dragging women down. Saturday night, the eldest Kardashian sister posted two photos of her children, Penelope ...

and more »

Patheos (blog)

Parenting, a Fender Bender, and Racial Bias
Patheos (blog)
At the tail-end of a Sunday-afternoon nap, I was awakened by the sound of sleet. My first thoughts were of the yuckiness of snow and sleet in March… followed very quickly by the panicked realization that 16 year old was out somewhere driving. Gracie ...


Hartford Courant

Jeff Jacobs: Geno, Our State's Father Figure, Lectures Us On Parenting
Hartford Courant
Geno Auriemma reveals his Quinnipiac University T-shirt after practice at Webster Bank Arena Friday. Quinnipiac is playing in California in the Sweet 16. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant). Jeff JacobsContact ReporterJeff Jacobs. Geno Auriemma was ...

and more »

La Crosse Tribune

John Rosemond: Differing parenting styles are a point of contention ...
La Crosse Tribune
Once again, a reader proves that parenting must be added to religion and politics as verboten subjects for polite conversation. A column I published back in ...

and more »

Differing parenting styles are a point of contention
Columbia Daily Tribune
Once again, a reader proves that parenting must be added to religion and politics as verboten subjects for polite conversation. A column I published back in December of 2016 went viral recently — yes, three months later (such things are mysteries to me).

and more »

PsychCentral.com

You Matter Too: Coping with Narcissistic Co-Parenting
PsychCentral.com
When living in a family with a narcissist, the entire system believes that the only person who matters is the narc. Your children (and you) have been conditioned through both blatant messages and implication, that your feelings (and you) are irrelevant.


Gaston Gazette

Parenting Gaston's children
Gaston Gazette
Hoyle sometimes requires guardians to go to parenting class. Family members may need to see a counselor, but if the steps are followed prosecution can be deferred. When truancy court began in Gaston County, the team saw four-year-old cases. They're ...


Stuff.co.nz

Foster parents recognised for three decades of parenting
Stuff.co.nz
Foster parents recognised for three decades of parenting. MATTHEW CATTIN. Last updated 16:51, March 27 2017. Gary and Sharon Richardson with Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and MP Hon Anne Tolley. Fostering Kids New Zealand. Gary and ...


The News Tribune

Parenting in prison
The News Tribune
Despite the grim presence of fences topped with razor wire, Candida Suarez, right, and her son, Ezra, enjoy a sunny day walking with fellow inmate Ellen Oliver and her son, Aden. Both women are in the Residential Parenting Program at the Washington ...


Vogue.com

Kate Middleton Admits That Parenting Is Hard—Even for a Princess
Vogue.com
During a rare public speech in London, Kate Middleton opened up about the challenges she faced after becoming a mother. The Duchess of Cambridge was speaking at a charity event organized by Best Beginnings, an organization that focuses on child ...
The Duchess of Cambridge has just opened up about parenting pressuresMarie Claire.co.uk
Princess Kate Speaks Candidly About Motherhood: 'At Times It Has Been a Huge Challenge'PEOPLE.com
Duchess Kate: Motherhood Is a 'Huge Challenge,' I've Lacked ConfidenceUs Weekly

all 137 news articles »
Google News

Building Self Confidence

Several similar terms describe the central attribute of a character... Read More

I WONT DO IT! Tips for Working with the Oppositional Child

"I WON'T DO IT!" "YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!"Whether parent or... Read More

Back to School Care Packages!

I am crying tears of joy mixed with great sadness... Read More

Starting School - What Age Should Children Begin School?

"What age should my child start school?"This is a common... Read More

Raising Happy Diabetic Kids Part III Help Your Child Develop Self-Control

This is the third and final article in a series... Read More

Simple Living in a Materialistic World

We were sitting in the family room. My kids had... Read More

Home For The Holidays: Avoid Aging Parents Becoming A Burden

By not planning for the future we guarantee that we... Read More

Got To, Get To ? Change The Way Your Family Thinks

I recently heard a story that has literally changed the... Read More

Is Your Teen Swamped with Homework and Tests?

I hear from many parents that their child is stressed... Read More

My Best Buddy

My son, Dakota is now 7 yrs old. He is... Read More

Responsible Fatherhood - A Unique And Irreplaceable Role!

Something happened the other day that made me feel uneasy.... Read More

Real Monsters Under Your Bed

There may really be a real monster under your kidâ??s... Read More

Stress is No Kiddy Matter

Kids today no longer live the kind of privileged lives... Read More

How Fathers Can Step Up to Fathering

When our oldest son was 2, my wife went out... Read More

Crazy Colors Fun Kid Experiment as a Party Activity

Here is an easy, inexpensive and fun kid experiment for... Read More

The Classic ADHD Child Reminds Me of Tigger

ADHD comes in differenty forms, or types. What... Read More

Joining a Gang: How to Help Kids Prevent it, How to Tell if Theyve Joined One, How to Help Them Out

While youth gangs are nothing new -- they've been traced... Read More

Talk Your Child Clever

Most parents can hardly wait for their baby to say... Read More

When Everybody Does It Comes Back to Haunt You

Parental example, whether for good or for bad, is undoubtedly... Read More

What Makes a Good Evaluation for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

So you have just returned home from your third meeting... Read More

Creating Great Birthday Party Videos

My son recently had his third birthday party and it... Read More

How to Silence Your Childs Inner Critic

Children do what feels good to them and follow their... Read More

Ten Tips for a Great First Day of School!

Many children are jittery on the first day of school.... Read More

7 Easy Ideas for Organizing Kids Artwork

In school, kids are encouraged to create, draw, color, paint... Read More

Keeping Kids Safe on the Internet

The biggest trick some child predators' are using these days... Read More