5 Reasons Why Our Children Need To Get Outside and Engage With Nature
These types of articles are becoming more and more popular. Not because we are great writers, but because there is an increase in the problem of getting kids to play and engage outside the home.
We have an avalanche of new screens and technology coming into our homes each month and each year. With every extra device means there’s less chance of us spending time outside (especially our children).
Something desperately needs to be done and hopefully, this article will encourage you to spend more time outside with your children.
Limits Screen Time
As you can appreciate, our kids are spending far too much time in front of screens at the moment. Whether it be a TV screen or a games console. We really need to find alternative activities for them so we can drag them away from these screens.
Spending too much time sitting a laying around means children develop a really bad posture and can actually inhibit their overall development.
To be fair, a lot of parents don’t set the best example since we are all watching more screens as a result of technology, work and social. However, this doesn’t have to be the case in the future.
By setting our own time limits on screens means we could be setting a great example for our kids. Don’t forget, we are their primary role model in life (especially up till their teenage years).
If your child wants to go out and play, then really encourage them to do this. Not only will they be getting more exercise, but they will also be getting a lot more fresh air than being stuck indoors.
Physical and Mental Benefits
A lot of children are introduced to nature watching nature documentaries and cartoons. However, this is a million miles away from the real world.
Our job is to encourage them to explore nature to its fullest. Let them experience the birds singing and try to identify the many different species of birds they see.
They need to see buzzing bees and know which wild berries they are allowed to eat and which ones they can’t (this information is available online or in books). Absolutely no electrical device we have produced can compete with the power of mother nature.
If children have a direct association with nature, they will dramatically improve both the physical and mental capacity.
Studies have shown that by allowing them to come into direct contact with nature reduces depression, anxiety improves their mood and reduces mental fatigue. Not only that, but they have improved motor skills and are a lot fitter than kids that don’t get out as much.
With less screen time comes increased concentration levels. This will help them with their school studies and also sports.
Better still, go ahead and join them when you can. This will encourage them to go out more and also has the added benefit of being able to spend more time quality time with.
Nature Gets the Best Out of Your Kids
When you think of how much time we spent playing outside as kids and compare it with how much time our kids spend playing. There’s a huge difference.
We used to spend much more time playing outside. This is down to the fact that we never had as many screens or indoor games to play with. We had to make our own entertainment.
Worst still, there’s a worrying trend of not wanting to go out when the weather is deemed bad, like snowing or raining. If the weather has turned, you should still encourage your kids to go out and explore.
You shouldn’t use the threat of bad weather to discourage kids to go out and play. Yes, they will get a bit wet and a bit dirty, but surely this is all part of growing up isn’t it?
Discouraging this limits the overall potential. Encouraging this allows you to get the best out of your kids.
How many kids climb trees anymore, how many build dens anymore and how much danger do kids encounter anymore?
OK, no one wants their kids to be in danger. However, encouraging them to explore their outside world with all its dangers and pitfalls is actually good for kids.
To try and keep them safe by couping them up indoors does more harm than good.
When you switch the apps off a smartphone or you remove the cable subscription from your TV they come boring pieces of plastic.
What makes them so addictive is that by design they are made to be addictive. For this reason, the level of social skills are kids obtaining is decreasing.
Let’s admit it. Our kids are hooked on these things and are developing really bad habits and traits. They are forgetting how to be social and how to interact in real life situations. Not only is this really bad for individual families. It's really bad society as a whole.
By encouraging our kids to explore the great outdoors and interact with other children means they are constantly developing their social skills. Skills they would acquire by sitting in front of a screen on their own at home.
There’s also a strong possibility that they will find and make new friends.
Making new friends outside of their normal social circle opens up more possibilities of enhancing their social skills. They will learn new things, gather new ideas and start to develop their problem-solving abilities.
Improves Self Confidence in Kids
We don’t often think of children having or developing self-confidence, do we? However, what we don’t appreciate is the fact that children need to develop their self-confidence early on in life.
They can do this by exploring the great outdoors. In essence, they are connecting with nature. The more they explore, find out new things, come across new dangers and pitfalls will inevitably improve their self-confidence in the long run.