Anxiety is a growing mental disorder that can pop up at any moment, whether it’s worrying about something that might happen or something that is happening. While it is characterized by worry, other symptoms in children include being afraid of school or other public places, fears about being away from their parents, repeated episodes of sudden and intense fear, having trouble breathing, feeling dizzy, and shaky. A little over 7% or 4.4 million children are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Don’t dismay – it seems as though spending time in nature can help alleviate stress and anxiety, so a quick walk will help children feel less anxious.
One study that focused on children with anxiety noticed that their symptoms decrease when they play in green schoolyards over children who don’t. These children noted that they’re not as afraid of their peers and showed a more supportive role in social groups. Exercise in nature is a useful tool for combating anxiety. Not only do natural scenes help children feel less stressed in general, taking a brisk walk in nature has been shown to reduce anxiety even more than exercising indoors. If your child has been experiencing anxiety lately, try taking them for a walk on a wooded trail.
It’s hard to learn when to start teaching your children independence – and how. You want them to gain the skills they need to be successful in all areas of their life, yet it’s hard as a parent or caregiver to know when to step back. It’s also hard when it comes to knowing if your directions or actions are helping the children. Fortunately, just like Mother Nature can help your children learn responsibility, it can assist in independence. According to a Psychology Today blog, children need to develop a sense of independence through uncontrolled play to be confident and resilient later in life.
Mother Nature helps with this because children feel more free outdoors than indoors. They can run around and make more decisions in their lives, which allows them to learn how to problem-solve and provides natural consequences. Just as important, while they’re playing in the yard, children can be less watched and supervised even if it’s in their own yard by adults. Even the small and unstructured moments, such as building a fort, can help them learn. In addition to the intellectual benefits of learning about the outdoors through play and experimentation, children learn things like confidence and self-esteem through unstructured outdoor play in nature.
You probably know how your emotions change when you’ve been outside. For example, you might go for a 15 to 20-minute walk after a bad day and head home to feel relieved and happier. This emotion can grow in your children as well. Something about nature helps us not to dwell on things and lowers our stress because natural scenes calm us instead of demanding our attention as our screens do. Symptoms of depression and fatigue also tend to diminish after spending some quality time in nature. Sometimes just feeling awestruck by nature makes all our problems seem to melt away in the grand scheme.
Happiness is not the only emotion that nature will increase in your life. It will make you feel positive in many ways and for many reasons. Nature gives children several moves and things to explore that gets their creative and intellectual juices flowing. They can make noises, as much as they want, and show all types of self-expression. Nature has also been found to lower blood pressure and stress, so a brisk walk in the park can improve your child’s overall mood. Not only that, but it will reduce their anxiety levels and gives a boost to their self-esteem as well.
Even though your children might look like they’re causing chaos, they feel a sense of peace when they’re playing in nature. It also helps them slow down and look at what surrounds them, even if it’s taking time to dig in the sand or dirt. Playing in dirt has a positive effect on children and helps them have happier lives. It feels good to jump and run and yell out loud. When children can express themselves like this, they will feel less tension and restlessness. It’s incredible how effective nature is for helping children feel peaceful and soothed.
Children learn many ways, and one of them is through their senses, such as touching, hearing, seeing, and smelling the outdoor environment. You might think that nature doesn’t have as much stimulation as their video games, but there is more than what meets the eye. The trick is to pay more attention to your surroundings and get them to ask questions. In nature, a child who is paying attention can learn a lot about the world by playing and trying things out if they are curious about nature. Even something as simple as jumping from one rock to another or climbing a tree engages a child’s mind and allows them to learn.
There are many reasons why you want to help your children improve their focus. Other than increasing their productivity, it will also reduce stress, build momentum, and enhance their work quality. Several studies show that when your children spend at least 20 minutes outside, their focus improves. Allow them to go out for a walk in the park or play in the backyard. Building focus isn’t even all about work. According to Harvard Health Blog, the outdoors is an excellent place for children to have unstructured free play, which is essential for developing cognitive abilities, like focus and practicing decision making, all while having fun.
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.