About the nature and development of the child
People are increasingly moving away from nature, especially those living in the urban environment, almost permanently connected to technology.
We refer to nature as a "place" separate from the one we usually live in, forgetting that nature supports our very own existence and that until recently people have lived in communion with nature, not separated from it.
Nature offers children inexhaustible sources of wonder and wonder: plants, birds, insects, unknown trees, water, leaf light among trees, nature sounds. All of this creates an environment quite different from the one the child grows in, which connects it with a deeper and more mysterious world than the one that the city or home offers.
With few exceptions, children are fascinated by nature and are happier when they have the opportunity to discover it. That's why it's good to give the child the opportunity to spend time in nature.
Benefits for physical health
Outdoor time reduces the risk of myopia. A study in Australia between 2003 and 2005, involving 1765 6-year-olds and 2367 12-year-olds, identified three types of activities involving vision: at a distance (reading and drawing) at a distance (watching TV or using the computer) and at a distance (outdoor sports, cycling).
For 12-year-olds, the time spent in nature was higher, the lower the frequency of myopia.
Also, 12-year-olds who spent the most time doing short-distance activities and spending little time outdoors were at twice the risk of other children of their age to suffer from myopia.
Children who have access to parks and outdoor playgrounds are less likely to have weight problems (obesity or overweight).
Benefits for mental health
Numerous studies, about which you can read more in the report published by Children and Nature, show that playing in nature, when taking place on a regular basis, has beneficial effects on the physical, cognitive and emotional development of children. Here are some examples:
-people living in the country show less stress levels than people living in the city when placed in the same stressful situation.
-children with ADHD frequently playing outdoors have less severe symptoms than those who play more indoors.
-children who have access to nature have low levels of anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem than children of the same age who do not have as much access to natural spaces.
-people who have had contact with nature in childhood are more prone to have nature protection attitudes.
These positive effects of time spent in nature are harnessed by "ecotherapy", which includes several types of interventions where contact with nature has an essential role: time spent in wilderness, gardening or recreational outdoor activities.
Often, trips or camps are those that offer this form of therapy through specially designed programs of up to 8 weeks, where people are taken out of the environment they live and learn to do in nature. A significant part of ecotherapy is the participant's determination to focus on survival and the need to work with others.
What are the benefits of ecotherapy?
-acts multi-sensorial (all senses activate in nature)
-states such as curiosity, empathy, trust, care for the other, compassion is active in nature,
-awareness of the size of the world in which we live and minimization of the gravity of our own problems to the outside world,
-allows practicing meditation and mindfulness techniques,
-help self-knowledge and self-analysis.
How long does your child spend in nature every week?