In Her Words
Get Your Kids Outdoors During Winter
Help prevent nature deficit disorder
-Shawna Coronado, gardeningnude.com
Kids spend too little time outdoors in nature. During the winter, particularly in the northern states, it is particularly difficult to get children active outside. However, it is critical for their health.
According to Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin Books, 2006), by encouraging our children to get outside more, we are helping to prevent Nature Deficit Disorder. This condition, according to Louv, encourages diabetes, poor test performance and weight gain, as well as allowing other disorders such as ADD and ADHD to manifest themselves.
February is a great time to encourage outdoor activities. Yes, I know you think the little mini-you is going to freeze to death. It is simply not true. By sending them outside for a while, you allow them to get fresh air, away from dry indoor air, dust and other allergens.
Experts agree that spending time out in nature can help elevate moods, which is particularly important for children who are faced with increasingly stressful situations. Relieving stress, enjoying nature, laughing and playing are important to a child’s immune system and emotional well-being. Contrary to popular belief, being outside in cold weather does not encourage colds, the flu or other illness. In fact, fresh air is good for people of all ages.
My 8-year-old recently enjoyed pretend ice-skating outdoors, on our front sidewalk. She and I had great fun skating for an hour on a patch of flooded sidewalk. We held hands and performed fantastic ice-skating tricks for an audience of winter birds. Both the time together and the time outside were rewarding for us.
Before we went out, both she and I were feeling kind of blue and bored with life. Although it was quite chilly, while we were outside, it was mood-lifting and sunny. Feel-good brain chemicals were working overtime while we laughed and enjoyed nature. When we came back inside, after our out-in-nature break, our cheeks were rosy and our hearts were filled with happy memories of playing together out in nature.
Get outside this winter with your children. Enjoy life and nature – they’re good for you and your family!