3 Ways Kids and Teens Can Benefit from Spending Time Outdoors
In today’s society, people are spending more time indoors than ever. People don’t even have to leave their houses to go shopping anymore, especially with about 79% of consumers doing online shopping in 2017. Unfortunately, this means more and more kids and teens are spending most of their time indoors and not being active. Going outside has numerous benefits for kids and teens specifically, and this article is going to discuss a few of them.
Sadly, health problems associated with obesity are the second leading cause of preventable death. One of the biggest benefits of teens and kids being outside is that they get moving and are active. With the American Heart Association recommending that all children over the age of two participate in at least one hour of physical activity each day, going outside is a great way to do this. And the best part is that kids don’t even have to be playing sports or going for a run — even walking around or riding a bike is a great way to get some exercise.
Being in an outdoor environment can even help improve children’s’ vision. With more than 40% of parents saying their children spend at least three hours each day on digital devices, the number of kids with vision and hearing loss continues to increase. But research by the American Academy of Ophthalmology shows that kids have a lower risk of developing nearsightedness when they spend more time outdoors.
Along with promoting physical health, getting outdoors also promotes mental health. When kids are in natural environments, they have less to distract them. This can help decrease stress levels and even make them feel happier. Being surrounded by people, media, and mobile devices all the time can make kids and teens feel stressed and disoriented. Getting outside to escape a hurried daily routine will allow kids to re-center and feel happier overall.
Going outside can even help kids have a better attention span. Several studies have found that when kids and teens are in green outdoor settings, they can have a reduction in ADHD symptoms. This increase in focus is important not only for kids who have ADHD but for all kids and teens. An increased attention span can help them do better in school and in their extracurricular activities.
Spending time outdoors can also promote the growth of social skills. When kids and teens spend time outdoors with other kids, they learn important social skills and functions. This includes behavioral skills like sharing and leadership. Whether it’s taking turns going down the slide, taking a leadership role when playing a game, or considering others’ ideas when deciding what to do next, social skills are an important aspect of being outside.
Kids can also build confidence when they spend more time outdoors. Because they have access to less structured play, they have more opportunities to decide how they interact with their environment. Teens and kids will be able to choose how they spend their time outdoors and even how they treat their surrounding environments, which can ultimately boost their confidence. Being able to be creative and imaginative allows kids to find out what they like to do on their own.
We’ve just barely scratched the surface on important the role of nature is on our children (and our own) lives. For more information check out this excellent guide by My Open Country.
Spending ample time outside can offer immense benefits for people of all ages, but especially for kids and teens. So if you have a kid or teen in your life, encourage them to spend more time outdoors so they can see the physical, mental, and social benefits it can offer.