Time spent in nature is beneficial for children’s mental and physical health, research says. Photo by David Tadevosian on Shutterstock
Another study, this time conducted in northeastern China in 2013, further supports the importance of nature in children’s lives. This time, the study focused on the association between green-spaces that surrounded schools and the mental health condition of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Data for this particular study came from measuring the green spaces around the schools and two reports given at different times from the parents regarding potential ADHD symptoms in their children.
This data was collected over a span of 10 months and showed results from seven different cities. The study included almost 60,000 children between the ages of 2 and 17, from 94 schools around the country.
The results of this study showed that the levels of green-ness were linked to the incidence of ADHD behavior/symptoms in the children. Greater greenness levels around the school were significantly linked with lower odds of ADHD symptoms present in the children of that school.
How parents (and educators) can easily and affordably reconnect children with nature
The urbanization of society and advances in technology (among other things) have made nature less accessible to our children. However, Richard Louv (and the researchers who have supported his theories) aren’t just proving there is a problem – they are also providing communities ways to leap into action.
Parents who are looking for actionable ways to involve nature in their children’s lives can do more than just let their children play outside an hour extra a day. Parents can push to become more involved in movements that place importance on nature-learning for kids, such as the Leave No Child Inside movement that has sprung up all over the United States and Canada.
Simple things such as starting an outdoor club with other parents who are interested in maintaining the connection between human beings and nature can be extremely beneficial. In Omaha, for example, a parent-lead association was created by 5 families that offer hands-on, nature-based play activities for children.
If you’re an educator, one of the best things you can do to stop the ever-growing gap between our children and nature is to educate yourselves on the cognitive (and other) health benefits of allowing children to have more interactions in nature. Then share that knowledge with not just your students, but other educators as well.
The Children & Nature Network site is one of the best resources for re-integrating nature back into the lives of our children, offering links to many different research papers that give you information on the benefits of unstructured outdoor play to whole curricula that can be based on outdoor learning.
“What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?”
– Richard Louv, The Nature Principle
- Scientists link sense of smell and sense of direction – Big Think ›
- Dealing with the emotional consequences of climate change – Big … ›
- Richard Louv: Home ›
- How to Protect Kids from Nature-Deficit Disorder ›
- Nature-Deficit Disorder | Children & Nature Network ›
(For the source of this, and many other equally interesting articles, please visit: https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/nature-deficit-disorder-richard-louv/)