Why Children Should Spend More Time Outdoors
It is common knowledge that being closer to nature and spending time outdoors is beneficial for mental and emotional health of both adults and children. It is good for our attention and mood. Many studies have revealed that nature positively affects the cognitive abilities of children by protecting their mental health from the harmful effect of air pollutants. Children who regularly get engaged in various energetic activities in the natural surroundings show greater progress in their memorizing information at school. Therefore, it is true that nature is highly beneficial for the overall state of health of little children who especially need to develop properly. It is advisable for schools to create more green spaces for children in order to reduce the city noise as well as stress associated with city life. This will also increase the opportunities for children’s physical activity.
It is a fact that more than a half of the entire population of the planet lives in cities. For this reason, not every child has a chance to spend more time in the natural environment. Green spaces are therefore an important factor when it comes to designing the school grounds as children need to have proper conditions for their development and growth. Nowadays, children are becoming more and more secluded from nature, which negatively affects their physical and mental health. Children tend to spend time using their electronic devices instead of playing outdoors. This negatively affects their wellbeing, including mental and psychological health. It has been revealed by many studies that spending time in nature is associated with immense health benefits, including improved ability to concentrate and greater creativity.
Nature also helps to treat mental diseases, particularly depression and various other mental disorders. This is especially beneficial in the modern conditions when a great number of people are suffering from different mental disorders and need help to improve their condition. Nature can help to beat depression improving one’s mood and raising spirits. It is greatly beneficial for one’s psychological state as it helps to take control over negative emotions and feelings and alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders. Nature is also beneficial for the physical health of children. When children are playing outdoors, they develop their motor skills and coordination. Nature facilitates the attention and overall intellectual development of children.
There are many ways with the help of which you can introduce nature into the lives of your children to enjoy all the benefits that nature has on the mental and physical state of children living in the city. Here are some of the ways to make children spend more time outdoors.
- You should instill curiosity in kids by being curious yourself. It is of great importance to make children feel enthusiastic about outdoor activities. Parents should show respect for nature so that children will follow their example. You should also take a position of an explorer so that every time you are engaged in outdoor activities you need to show that you also learn new things and are not an expert in everything. You should encourage children to ask questions about nature as it is a wonderful thing to explore natural surroundings together with your child. You should also be open to your mutual adventure and make your child curious about discovering something new in natural environment.
- Try to spend more time in nature without any distractions engaging your child in various activities. You can find some secluded place where you and your child can make observations and simply spend time in quiet and still natural surroundings without being interrupted by city noise. You can observe birds, frogs and squirrels together with your child. Exploration will help your child to feel respect towards natural surroundings and learn more about various creatures existing in nature. You child will therefore not only learn more facts about nature, but also start valuing the beauty of various natural phenomena.
- You should also restrict the use of electronic devices while spending time outdoors. During your walk, try to turn off all the devices and forget about technologies. Instead try to encourage your child to look around at the nature surrounding you. You may draw his/her attention to the beautiful colors in the sky or migrating birds. You can point to different shapes of clouds and show how calming the natural surroundings are. When going for a walk, you can also take some children’s books, which you can read while sitting on the grass in the park or other green space where you and your child can relax from the noisy and busy life of the city.
- Try to find untouched green spaces and regularly come back to them. This might be a field near the town, a forest or some other space where you and your child can observe nature and discover new things about it. Try to make that place memorable by returning to it season after season, which will allow you to observe the natural life cycles and see how they change with every new season. This will become your favorite place and your child will definitely remember it when he/she grows up. It should be free from traffic and other sources of noise. It should be some green space where you can see all the beauty of nature and its inhabitants. Observation of the magic power of nature will make your child feel respect for the natural environment.
Finally, you can read about nature together with your child. Search the internet to find suitable books for your child to find out more about the language of nature and its inhabitants. It can be some adventurous books like “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn” or something similar. Reading about nature will help your child to understand how people interact with natural surroundings and how beautiful the nature can be.
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