Many people are worried about the health of their children in one way or another. It may be they can’t seem to sit still in school and dear old mom and dad are getting a call from the school every other week about that. It may be that that sweet little girl is a little bit over weight. Then there is depression. There is nothing more sad than watching a sweet little one in a state of depression.
While the great outdoors may not be the answer to all your parenting dilemmas, it’s a good place to start and as easy to obtain as getting to a local park.
Playtime is important to the emotional well being of a child. Many times children judge how much quality time they have with parents equal to how much time their parents have spent in recreational activities with them. Playing gives children the opportunity to drop the emotional baggage of the day and even get some of that more aggressive emotional energy out. Playing outside in a nice green environment has the ability to help a child’s stress levels to fall and helps them improve their social interactions with both you as well as the children playing around them. An added bonus to all this is that mom and dad get to be part of a positive experience with their child for a few hours instead of a walking schedule with a “hurry up” refrain.
One thing I love to do with my smaller ones is take nature walks and name the different plants and animals we see. It’s educational for them and we love doing it together. Time out in nature helps to mentally stimulate a child in other ways as well. Many times during play a child’s problem solving skills are put to the test. They need to think things through in order to cross the monkey bars or get their swing to fly at the rate they want. Play, in many cases, is a child’s first learning experience.
It should come as no surprise that those children that play more outside end up doing better with critical thinking problems and higher test scores. Playing outside has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of ADD and ADHD in children. This could help them sit still longer in a classroom and focus on what a teacher is trying to teach them.
For most kids that go outside to play, running, jumping, riding bikes or climbing play structures are a natural result of just being outside. It’s a great way to exercise because they don’t even know they are doing it. Playing outside can reduce the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes. It can protect a child’s future health from heart or bone problems and can even help them to absorb vitamin D. It even lowers the chance of nearsightedness, saving you the cost of glasses or contacts.
To find out more visit: http://nwf.org/What-We-Do/Kids-and-Nature/Why-Get-Kids-Outside/Health-Benefits.aspx
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