The benefits of keeping children active and the importance of play in a hospital environment

The benefits of keeping children active and the importance of play in a hospital environment

The benefits of keeping a child active are many and even when a child is unwell a level of activity should always be encouraged.

Children learn many things through play and physical activity. They are essential for all aspects of a child’s ‘normal’ growth and development, enabling the child to advance emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually.

Research shows that regular physical activity can boost our self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, making us less prone to stress, depression and dementia.

Regular exercise also  has lots of health benefits for children and young people, such as:  

 

  • improving fitness

  • providing an opportunity to socialize

  • increasing concentration

  • improving academic scores

  • building a stronger heart, bones and healthier muscles

  • encouraging healthy growth and development

  • improving self-esteem

  • improving posture and balance

  • lowering stress

  • encouraging a better night's sleep       

Exercise is so important in the early stages of life as an inactive children is likely to become an inactive adults.

So it can be seen why activity and play are so important, however, in a hospital environment,  play also fulfills additional functions, and is often used to fulfill a purpose. Such functions might include:

  • a link to home

  • to aid feelings of normality

  • to provide an outlet for feelings and frustrations

  • to reduce stress and anxiety

  • to help the child to regain confidence and self-esteem

  • to teach in an enjoyable way (eg. about procedures)

  • to encourages involvement of families and siblings

  • to facilitate communication for all children, whatever their age, stage of development, language, or ability

  • to minimize regression

  • to provide fun!

In addition, play is believed to help speed up recovery of children in hospital.

When a child is fitted with a central line catheter, carers are all too aware of the dangers of snagging and pulling on the line. This awareness causes considerable concern and may lead to them limiting the child’s activity and preventing them from playing with friends or just doing what children do. The Tookie Vest for Oncology® is designed to capture and protect the central line, once the line is securely covered patients and carers become less concerned and this enables a level of normality of movement and actions.

 

Information for this article was gathered from a variety of websites including those listed below. For additional information please use the links below

 

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/active-kids.html

 

http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/deal-chronic-illness.html

 

http://www.gosh.nhs.uk/medical-information/general-health-advice/leading-active-lifestyle/exercise-children-and-young-people