A lot has changed in the last 20 years! We have evolved into a globalized, technology driven world. Twice as many children have cell phones now than in 2004. A whopping 88% of 13-17 year olds have access to a cell phone! For better or worse, childhood is a vastly different experience than what it used to be.
This rise in screen time has led to a decline in exposure to nature and outdoor physical activity. These days, we spend as much as 90% of our time indoors. Not only is this affecting our quality of life, but our children’s health too. According to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, “Our disconnection from nearby nature is a prime reason for the declining state of human health, both mental and physical”.
For children, being outdoors offers unstructured play time, and gives simple things like flowers, sticks, rocks, earth, water, trees, and insects the opportunity to trigger their imagination. There are now over 500 research studies showing that access to nature is essential for healthy kids. When they can connect to nature on a daily basis, it positively affects their social, psychological, academic, spiritual, and physical health by:
The studies show that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development, with it’s restorative effects stretching far into adulthood. Of course, exposure to nature and the outdoors is highly beneficial to adults too, so why not join your kids?
You can find ways to explore nature as a family, and see what is available within easy reach of your home. It could mean getting involved in a community garden, or heading to the park and keeping your eyes out for signs of wildlife like birds, racoons, mice, and edible fruits and plants. You can even become weekend warriors and discover your local Provincial and National Parks!
Think it’s not possible in an urban environment? We’ve spied dinosaur kale in flower beds in downtown Toronto, and blackberries in hidden corners of urban parks. It’s there for you to find! You can even get things started by putting window boxes in your home, or potted plants on your apartment balcony.
Children are healthier and happier when they can be outdoors and have chances for unstructured play. Plus, the more our children experience nature, the more they will love and care for it for the health of future generations.
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We want to provide nothing but the highest quality information and advice for our followers to improve their health, which is why at Truehope Canada, we're happy to say our writer is a Certified Life Coach and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.