Happy Earth Day! Get outside! Do something in nature! Teach your children how to enjoy this planet of ours and reduce their stress levels in the process! The sad reality of childhood in this country is that our children spend more and more time in front of a computer and less and less time outside playing. Children learn much through play, but not only do they learn, they also unwind, reset, and relieve stress.
During the last two decades, childhood has moved indoors, with the average American child spending as few thirty minutes engaged in unstructured, outdoor play and more than seven hours a day in front of an electronic screen. Not surprisingly, childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in the last twenty years, and the United States has become the largest consumer of ADHD medication in the world. Our kids are out of shape, tuned out, and over-stressed because they are missing a vital component of childhood – being outdoors.
Children who play outdoors not only have increased fitness levels and healthier bodies, but also reduced stress levels and less risk of both anxiety and depression. Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of being outdoors. Spending time outside raises levels of Vitamin D, which helps to protect children from a host of future health issues. Being outside is a pretty simple solution to a host of both mental and physical health issues. Exposure to nature decreases children’s stress levels by up to 28%. So what are we waiting for? The beauty of spring is upon us – get outside! Play! Soak up nature! Reduce your child’s stress and while you’re at it, your own stress too!
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!