Children need to play outside

Children need to play outdoors – even in the rain

Invest in some warm and waterproof clothing and the children can play, exercise and have fun outdoors – even when it's cold and raining

If you are preparing for parenthood, you could read some of the hundreds of books by “experts”, explore the baby-led approach – or you could just get a dog. My husband and I got our labrador, Mathilde, six years before our first child was born.

Our dog doesn’t believe in lie-ins. Aged nearly 10, she still believes most situations are an opportunity for treat-stealing, so you need to keep an eye on her. She requires daily affection and conversation.

Most importantly, life is not worth living, for any of us, if she hasn’t spent at least two active hours outside each day. Things are much the same for children, yet we increasingly keep them cooped up inside.

A few months ago, I visited a school in Stockholm. It was a rainy, grey day. I was wielding an umbrella, but my leather shoes were soggy an hour into my morning.

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