With no outdoor life, children develop behavioral quirks
KATHMANDU, Oct 6: Lack of playgrounds at schools and congested homes and neighborhoods have been keeping children away from outdoor games and other physical activities and this has resulted in an increase in the number of hyperactive, impatient, intolerant and unsocial children in the capital.
Many parents going for a one-child option has made the situation worse for the kids, child experts warn.
"Not letting the young ones run, jump and play enough makes them both mentally and physically weak. Exercise of the whole body is essential for the perfect coordination or balance of the body and the mind. When such exercise is lacking, children suffer from many problems related to mental and physical health," states noted child psychologist and founder of national institute of psychology, Dr Ganga Pathak.
"Similarly, physical and emotional development is further affected if they are single kids. Because they have none to play with at home as well, and more worrisome thing is that more parents are opting for one child."
According to Pathak, many parents come to her only after their children show serious learning difficulties though behavioral problems are no less important to cure. "The parents fail to understand that the root cause of their children´s disturbed state is increased academic pressure and an acute lack of outdoor activities.
Pathak reports that in the last five years, there has been a marked increase in the number of children being brought to her clinic. "I examine over a dozen children in my clinic in a week. But there are many other parents who are still unaware about the problems of their children. So you can just imagine the magnitude of the problem," she adds.
Child specialist Dr Merina Pathak fully agrees that outdoor games are fast becoming an alien thing for today´s children. "Inactive or sedentary lifestyle is very harmful for kids, and this problem is becoming quite visible nowadays. Good digestion, physical and mental health and even height and weight depend very much upon physical activity while diet also has an important role. Children should be encouraged to play outdoors even if only briefly every day."
Kabita Pandey, principal of a typical Kathmandu schol, which has very little space for the kids to move around, states that she certainly knows the importance of games in children´s life and development.
"However, in a city like Kathamndu, average private schools cannot afford spacious buildings or enough area. We try to engage children with whatever we have," adds Pandey, principal of Sai Nilayam Secondary School.
No matter what the child experts say, the kids hardly have any choice than to get hooked to computer games and TV programs as they are just not encouraged or availed with area to play at schools or homes.
The state would have taken notice of the problem and planned for a number of children´s park in the city by now. However, government officials have no good thing to say about it anyway.
"No such plan is in the pipeline as for now. But we can definitely spare part of Ratnapark for the purpose and next, I just remembered, a small park would soon be opened for the locals in the airport area," said Rabin Man Gurung, environment management division chief at Kathmandu Metropolitan City.