The streets are quiet here during winter. The children are at school during the day and in the evening they’re all inside, most of them playing on their games consoles or watching TV. It’s such a reversal of what it’s like here during summer, when our street is alive with children riding their bikes and generally messing around, having fun.
But it’s dark, and parents don’t let their kids out in the dark. Or in the cold.
Ok, I can understand that to a degree - they’re worried about their children’s safety in public areas after dark, but the dark and cold themselves won’t hurt them, not as long as they’re dressed properly. But they don’t even play in their gardens. Everything’s quiet.
Children need fresh air and to use their bodies. They need to go outside to do that. They need to kick a ball about, skip, run and jump. They need to climb and they need to discover all the mysteries that lurk under stones and rocks, in the earth, on leaves and in trees. They need to learn about the natural cycle of life and they aren’t doing that through computer games.
All that’s needed is a decent back yard light and some good, warm clothing. Kids are generally pretty resilient and their fear of darkness isn’t something they’re born with, but something we adults teach them.
When I lived in Norway, the children were always out playing in the dark. It was either that or stay inside the whole time because darkness was something that was there when they left for school, was there when they came home and wasn’t going to go away for many months during winter. They wrapped up well, and played for hours.
Is it any wonder that children here in the UK are increasingly suffering from obesity, allergies and other health problems when they’re bodies aren’t getting the exercise needed?