Benefits of Introducing Your Child to The Great Outdoors
Many adults remember the day when their parent or guardian told them to “go play outside,.” Aand they did so for many good reasons. Introducing a child to nature at a young age has benefits that can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, recent studies show that young children spend more time indoors on electronic media (Playstations, iPads, computers, etc.) than they do in the great outdoors. The even worst news is that a lack of time spend outdoors time has many health risks for children, including chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and depression.
To help encourage your kids and other members of the family to spend more time outside in nature, learn about six health and development benefits that can last a lifetime:
1. Stress Reliever: Studies show that spending time in nature can be a natural stress reliever for both children and adults. Bloodstream levels of a stress hormone called cortisol are actually shown to be lower after spending time outdoors. And gGetting away from all those electronic devices can help everyone slow down and enjoy what nature has to offer.
2. Immunity boost: A recent Japanese study showed that after spending a three-day trip in the forest, a test group had an increase in their white blood cell count—the cells that are crucial for a healthy immune system. What’s more impressive, the Japanese group’s increase in white blood cells stayed elevated for more than 30 days after their trip. For young children (as well as adults), an increase in immunity can help someone battle germs and disease. So, take a hike, it may help your body fight off germs.
3. Exercise: Because children should be active for at least one hour a day, being outdoors is one great way to make that happen. From riding bikes to playing ball games, being outdoors encourages active play which can help a child establish healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
4. Better focus: Studies have shown that being outdoors can help someone stay focused and pay attention for longer periods amounts of time. By not having the distractions of electronic devices, a child can experience nature in a non-distracting way. One study said that spending just twenty minutes walking in a natural setting elevated attention performance for children with ADHD. Another study at the University of Michigan said that short term memory can also be improved by spending time outside.
5.Risk-taking: All parents and guardians want their children to feel safe, but childhood is the time to explore safe risk-taking. When a child learns to climb a tree or play an outdoors sport, they are helping learn how to be independent and learn on their own—and helping find their way in the great outdoors.
6.Nature Appreciation: As children spend more and more time indoors, they are missing out on the beauty and wonder of nature. From playing in mud puddles to climbing a mountain, a young child can learn to appreciate the beauty of our world and do their part in maintaining the natural resources we are all lucky to have.
To learn more reasons why your child should spend time outdoors, visit https://childmind.org/article/why-kids-need-to-spend-time-in-nature/.
To read why kids who spend time outdoors become happier adults, visit https://www.travelandleisure.com/syndication/new-study-shows-spending-time-in-nature-improves-kids-long-term-mental-health.
By ABC Quality Team on June 23, 2020