Nature Deficit Disorder is REAL! The Question is are Our Children being deprived of a Happy, Healthy, Thriving Life? Our Children are the way to a Healthy, Thriving Future! Research has found that children today are missing out on having major fundamental foundations to build a healthy life because of a lack of exposure to Nature. This is being referred to as “Nature Deficit Disorder”
What is Nature Deficit Disorder?
Nature deficit is occurring due the fact that people, especially children, are spending less time outdoors, and it has been found that this deprivation of being involved with Nature and outdoor activities is one of the reasons for a range of mental health and physical health problems. The lack of being involved with nature appears to be an underlying cause for many of children’s behavioural problems.
Benefits of Nature & Outdoor Activities
Physical activity is a must for children. It helps to prevent childhood obesity together with a diet of healthy, fresh food. This is especially important as child obesity is high and our children’s health is a Risk. Regular exercise not only burns calories but can also promotes good mental health, helping prevent depression, improved learning capacity, improving neurological pathways.
It is important for Children to have “risky” play outdoors guided by adults within recommended play grounds and climbing facilities. Health and Safety Executives believe that risk-taking in children’s lives is beneficial, but many children are prevented from playing in the playgrounds and climbing trees. A lot of learning happens by making mistakes, so exposure to ‘risky’ that isn’t a high risk to their health or safety is of great support for children’s learning, showing them what they are capable of.
“Climbing a tree – working out how to start, testing for strength, feeling how the breeze in your face also sways the branches underfoot, glimpsing the changing vista through the leaves, dreaming about being king or queen of the jungle, shouting to your friends below once you’ve got as high as you dare – is an immersive, 360-degree experience that virtual or indoor settings simply cannot compare with.” Tim Gill (quoted in Natural Childhood Report)
Where to Start Overcoming Nature Deficit Disorder
Be a Role Model – Begins with you as a parent or care giver to appreciate Nature and the Outdoors. Take time out to walk instead of taking the car. Get out in the Garden on your days off. Take notice of the birds, the bees, butterflies, the sun, the moon all that goes to make up our awesome world.
Engage in outdoor adventures: At least once a week come rain or shine – go to the local park, playground, walk along the beach, river, have a picnic. You can even have a picnic at home in your own backyard.
Set Time Slots for T.V and Computer Viewing – As much as our technological world is amazing. It is of vital importance to both your children’s and your health to limit the time that you spend. Making time to read, talk to one another and enjoy the GREEN! Yes, the green the trees, the grass all that is green is “Magical”, not just in what you eat, but in what you see.
Go Camping – This is a great way to disconnect from the world of technology, fast pace to spend time with one another. Always to remain safety conscious, but there is nothing more “Magical” than a camp fire, catching your own fish for tea and looking up at the stars at night.
Visit National Parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries – Regular visits to the zoo, national parks and wild life sanctuaries is a great way for children and adults to connect with nature. The is a great sense of nurturing, peace, calm and regularity that comes from nature that supports our Mental health.
Three main ways our Children Learn-
1. Auditory where we hear – not just from people but from nature
2. Visual what we see – this may be from watching someone else do something, books we read, watching things on TV, Movies, Videos etc and by examples of others.
3. Kinesthetic by feel, touch, tactile. This can also be from what we experience from our emotional feelings – From Nature we learn feelings of peace, comfort and uniformity
For each person to thrive in their Life. It is important that they are exposed to all three areas. Nature is of vital importance as this is the very foundation for human existence. Bringing reality to a higher purpose and higher self.
It has been well documented that –
Animals don’t thrive in an enclosed environment they merely exist. Children don’t thrive just being in classrooms – They merely learn academic basics Many children switch off. Over exposure to TV, Social media and the internet decreases their mental ability to think for themselves, depletes their imagination –