Can you remember playing outside as a kid? A time to run around and let loose, play with your friends and explore! You may remember walking or riding to school and making up all kinds of imaginative games on the greenbelt or in your back yard. Well, that doesn’t happen much anymore.
Today, children suffer from nature-deficit which links to health problems, including childhood obesity & diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of emotional illnesses like anxiety and depression. If children are no longer outside playing and enjoying themselves, they do not learn to calm down and relax naturally.
Humans have a nature instinct known as bio philia—an innate bond we share with all creatures and plants in the natural world that we subconsciously seek. Nature provides a sense of wellbeing, it calms and comforts unlike what happens in any manmade environment. Spending time in nature reduces the level of human response to stress and allows one to recover from stressful situations more quickly.
We are all struggling to balance a million priorities and to make the best decisions for our family. Now that you know how critical it is to our children’s wellbeing for them to spend time outside in nature, you may want to take some steps:
- Spend more time outside as a family. Don’t overthink this. Keep your children’s outdoor time unstructured–go for a walk, visit a local park, ride bikes, have a healthy meal in your backyard or garden.
- Plan day trips and holidays based on National Parks or other outdoor experiences.
- Teach children to “stop and smell the roses”. In other words, be mindful of nature around you.
Examine ways to minimise technology use in your house.