Have you ever sat back and watched your children play, especially when they’re younger? You might have seen them play games with an imaginary friend or pretend that certain parts of the ground are lava, and they need to jump around it. While everything looks normal, they believe in what they’re playing because their imagination is behind the steering wheel. When kids use their imagination like this, no matter how silly the games they play, they develop their minds. When kids play with their creativity, it is all about their ideas and decisions, so they practice thinking skills simultaneously.
There are many ways that children can hurt themselves. You might feel like you’re listening to crying several times a day because someone is always getting hurt, whether it’s a small cut on the finger or a broken bone. Even though children are known to heal from injuries faster than adults, nature can still give them the added benefit of making a full recovery as quickly as possible with less pain. In addition to helping them heal faster from injuries, nature gives kids a chance to take risks. Small challenges like climbing a tree, while presenting the risk of getting hurt, can teach kids to be confident as they get better and try again.
There are dozens of benefits for children when it comes to them spending time in nature. Other than emotional, there are also social benefits that you’ll notice as they start to spend more time outdoors. One of the most significant social benefits is you can find other children for them to play with. No matter how old they are, they will start interacting and finding ways to play with each other. All this builds communication as they work out how these games will work. However, they will also use their imagination when they’re playing by themselves, and this can also help them boost their social skills.
One reason for this is because children will spend most of their time away from their parents or caregivers. This freedom allows them to make up their own rules and solve their problems without interference with how they should handle the situation. It can also help them develop empathy and learn to be gentle with other people and animals, and learning empathy is huge for social development. According to Harvard Health Blog, children cannot understand all of the social skills they will need later as adults if they don’t get the kind of unstructured, self-directed play that comes most easily outside in nature.
One of the best features about the outdoors is that it gives your children a large amount of room to run and play to their heart’s content. Once you get your children outside, you might struggle to get them inside because they want to continue playing in nature with their toys and imagination. When kids get enough outside time, there are a ton of benefits, including improved concentration, overall physical and mental health, and even falling and staying asleep. Kids need between 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night, and not getting enough sleep can negatively impact their development.
Because their minds and bodies are busy, kids who spend more time playing outside are more likely to fall asleep faster than average. Therefore, if your children are struggling with insomnia, falling asleep, or waking up often throughout the night (more than usual for their age) and don’t spend much time in nature – get them outside. You will quickly notice the difference when it comes to their sleep routine. Getting enough sleep is essential for a child’s development. A better sleep routine will help your child’s mental and physical development and aid in the healthy development of behavioral skills, social interactions, and psychological maturity.
You have probably heard the phrase it takes a community to help raise a child. While most people tend to stick to parenting their children and rarely asking for help, the old saying is true. There is always a community that helps raise your children, and you just don’t ever think of it. For instance, teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and many others help teach your children certain parts of life. Student/teacher and also peer-to-peer relationships are enhanced when in nature. Children who feel left out in indoor environments see improved relationships with peers and teachers when outdoors.
Researchers in Canada have shown that when children live in a greener environment, they feel a stronger sense of place. They have a stronger sense that they belong to that community, and that’s essential. This idea helps improve your children’s emotions as they build their self-esteem by knowing they matter. They also learn how to engage with other people, their environment, and help keep everyone healthy and safe. Another study shows that people who live in areas with more greenery feel safer and have better relationships with neighbors, so children likely have an easier time making new friends in greener places.
There are dozens of physical benefits your children will receive while playing outside. Depending on the activities they play will depend on what muscles they build up. For instance, if they focus on running, they will strengthen their legs more than their arms and back. If they concentrate on climbing trees, they will enhance their arms and legs. Even motor skills are more advanced in kids who play outside instead of their peers who spend more time indoors. Because playing outside lets children test their physical abilities, they end up with more mastery and confidence over their movements.
Another benefit to their physical health is that they receive a lot of Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, building a robust immune system, and improving their emotional and mental health. Also, their overall fitness will increase. That is because they’re busy with their activities and burn calories. Studies have also shown an apparent link between the amount of time spent outside and BMI. It’s probably not a huge shock to learn that when kids spend more time playing outside, they tend to have a lower BMI. Maintaining a healthy BMI lowers a child’s risk for long-term health issues.
Nature Helps Children Develop Stronger Ties With Their Family
Take a moment to think about how much time you spend with your children, partner, and even your parents. With so much technology, children spend more and more time alone in their rooms doing what they enjoy, but this weakens family ties. Even by ensuring you have a family game or movie night, one day a week isn’t enough time to strengthen your family members’ connection. We all know how important family time is for building and maintaining a strong family bond, but scheduling can be challenging. What can we do to get more family time out of our busy weeks?
When it comes to a person’s overall well-being, it’s important to remember that your emotional, mental, and physical health are tied together. It doesn’t matter how old a person is; when someone is hurting emotionally, they can hurt mentally and even physically. For example, when children are anxious, they will complain of a stomach ache. Having poor mental health can harm our physical health, setting us up for health complications down the line. Thankfully, studies have shown that spending time in nature correlates with better coping skills for stress and anxiety.
To help improve your children’s mental health, you want to send them outside (or spend time with them outside) for at least 20 minutes a day. This concept will build their happiness level up, but it will also make them feel better overall. In return, they might feel sick less often. The positive emotions they feel while they’re playing outside will create a ripple effect in their lives that will continue as long as they keep spending time in nature. While exercise is an ideal outdoor activity and also a mood-booster, just spending time hanging out in a green space has been found to improve well-being.