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Why kids need to spend time in nature?

Smartphones, laptops, tablets, personal computers, video games, and so on, our life is surrounded by technology and our children are using it everywhere be it at home or school.

Kids today spend most of their time in front of the screens, surfing on the net, or playing games online. The rising real estate prices have resulted in most of the families preferred to live in apartments or floors. These generally have no green area for the family to dwell in.

The children can only access the community parks and public green areas for any outdoor activities. With the ongoing Pandemic, families including kids are generally confined in their homes with the majority of them having no direct access to nature. Consequently their senses narrow, both physiologically and psychologically.

Kids don’t want to spend time outdoors, which has raised concerns and panic and this crisis has been referred to as “Nature deficit disorder.”

Children having this disorder have behavioral problems, parental fear, have a weak bond with the parents as they spend very less time with them, have health problems like obesity and eyesight issues.

Uncontrolled browsing online by kids can be harmful to their development as they are exposed to content they are not matured enough to understand like pornography etc. Besides overuse of these devices adversely affects the quantity and quality of sleep of the child.

It is observed that at later ages 20% have a higher risk of anxiety disorder and 40% face mood disorders. Going outdoors is highly beneficial for kids. Studies show that spending time with nature and in the green makes kids happier, attentive, less anxious, and they tend to be smarter than kids who stay indoors.

Here’s a detailed explanation to why kids should spend time in nature.

Boosts Confidence

Playing indoors reduces confidence as the kids are not open to the outside life. Letting your kids move freely in nature will put them in situations to interact with outdoor environments. These movements may happen anywhere, in a park, in one’s backyard, or anywhere nearby. It allows the kid to choose his environment and spot for interaction helping him or her to become more confident.

Stimulates Creativity and Imagination

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As outdoor settings help the kids to move freely, they get to interact with different means of nature allowing them to think, branch out and interpret in their way. This helps in the development of their creativity and imagination. It allows the kids to see the world from a new perspective.

Nature is an open-ended learning laboratory and kids whenever they are out in the greens, become scientists who love to experience the sights, fragrances, sounds, and textures of the outdoors. They watch the leaves falling from the trees, earthworms wriggle through the soil, birds chirping, play with soil, build mud houses, plant seeds, click pictures of trees and clouds.

Interacting with nature allows children to learn by doing and experiment with ideas. Amidst nature, children think, question, and interpret, subsequently helping develop analytical minds in them.

Builds a Sense of Responsibility

As parents, we should happily allow the kids to be with nature. Nature has a lot to teach. For example, when kids plant a sapling they soon realize that if they don’t water the plant it will die. This sense of responsibility of taking care of the plant and subsequently watching it grow, make them think and use it in other ways of life.

Health Benefits

Nature is healing in itself. The fresh air when outside amidst nature is so uplifting not only for physical health but for the soul too. An active physical activity helps burn more calories and helps build strong and fit bodies.

Exposure to sunlight means children absorb vitamin D which has many positive benefits, including having a strong immune system. When outdoors, children can run, jump, hop, skip, climb, roll, and shout, which relaxes, and reduces tension, anxiety, and restlessness.

Environment Awareness

Contact with nature is a crucial part of sustainability education in early childhood. This helps children develop an appreciation for the Earth and all its inhabitants. To raise future adults who are passionate about protecting the environment and preserving our planet, they must first develop a deep love for it. The only way to enable children to grow comfortable is to open the door and let them out to explore the awe of the green natural world.

So though today’s generation is engaged over time with technology, parents need to indulge their kids in outdoor environments. They need to reconnect with nature, indulge in a nature walk, gardening, plant saplings, feel the fragrance of flowers, go fishing, or merely watch the greens through the windows, every bit helps. It is not only beneficial for their health but also plays a vital role in their overall development.

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