So there are so many research articles on the benefits of nature and tdaily outdoor time for children- yes really like so many. I want to highlight some of the benefits of getting outside with your child. This may mean traveling to a new park or going on a grand adventure. However, outdoor time can also be found in your backyard or a walk around the block.
In an article on The National Wildlife Federation's website the list benefits for mind, body and spirit for children. You can read the article here.
They focus on key areas of development for school children- such as improving fitness, attention and decreasing stress.
These are great benefits and parents need support and encouragement to include some time in nature for their children everyday. Parents tell me that they are often busy and time outside gets lost to appointments, after-school activities, and just keeping the household moving.
Here are my top three suggestions for enjoying the benefits of time outside every day:
- Make it a habit- a habit is an unconscious action that is taken after a trigger or during a sequence of events. What can you use in your daily routine to trigger 10-15 minutes outside? Waiting for the bus, before dinner is served or even an after dinner walk can be part of an outside every day habit.
- Use outdoor time for your own mental health: Outdoor time in a back yard can mean 20 minutes of peace and quiet inside the house, 20 minutes in a park can mean 10 minutes to sit in the sunshine (or even chase a toddler in the sunshine) and a 30 minute walk pushing a stroller and watching an older kid on their scooter can mean a short podcast to lift your spirit.
- Repeat the benefits to yourself, your parenting partner, family members and others in your community. The more comfortable you are with repeating the value of time outside the bigger priority it will become. Every parent knows the value of healthy eating for their child- let's add outdoor time to the ways to raise a healthy, resilient and kind human being.