Tire them out with skipping

5th May 2006 at 01:00
There is another way to prevent children tossing and turning under their blankets or blinking blurry eyed at TV screens long into the night: a couple of hours belting up and down a football pitch, skipping or playing tag can work better than any sleeping pill.

In Wales, campaigners claim this is becoming less and less possible as playing fields are vanishing - possibly at the rate of one a day. That there are now 80 acres of golf courses for every acre of children's play space suggests adults have got their priorities wrong.

If councils were forced to examine the needs of children before selling off playing areas, and if the Assembly government kept national records to ensure they are not being shrunk to the size of postage stamps, more children would burn off energy during the day, and fewer parents would worry that their offspring cannot switch off and sleep at night.

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