Friday, November 6, 2009

Inappropriate clothing limits outdoor play

A study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity looked at why levels of physical activity varied in child care centers in Cincinnati, and one reason turned out to be that lots of kids are dressed inappropriately. They suggest clear center policies, because reminding parents doesn't work.
Two major themes about clothing were: 1) children's clothing was a barrier to children's physical activity in child-care, and 2) clothing choices were a significant source of conflict between parents and child-care providers.
Inappropriate clothing items included: no coat/hat/ gloves in the wintertime, flip flops or sandals, dress/ expensive clothes, jewelry, and clothes that were either too loose or too tight. Child-care providers explained that unless there were enough extra coats at the center, a single child without a coat could prevent the entire class from going outside.
Caregivers suggested several reasons why parents may dress their child inappropriately, including forgetfulness, a rushed morning routine, limited income to buy clothes, a child's preference for a favorite item, and parents not understanding the importance of outdoor play. Several child-care providers favored specific policies prohibiting inappropriate clothing, as many reported limited success with verbal or written reminders to bring appropriate clothing.

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