Nature Deficit Disorder: Is Real
Learn 5 Important Keys
How to help your Children Thrive!
The term “Nature Deficit Disorder” is used to describe how human beings, especially children, as they are spending less time outdoors, exploring nature, than there previous ancestors, this is affecting there concepts of reality and can have a negative effect on their physical, emotional and mental development. In this article I provide you with a clear understanding of how The Term Nature Deficit Disorder came about: the Benefits and How to Spend more Time Enjoying Nature on a daily basis.
Overload of Technology Link to Nature Deficit Disorder.
Destroying our Children’s Minds & Life
Understanding the Term “Nature Deficit Disorder”
Where the Term Originated from –
The term “nature deficit disorder” was invented by Richard Louv, an American journalist. In his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods, he lamented the trend toward children spending less unstructured time outdoors and presented his view that the result of this “deficit” is a wide range of mental and physical problems.
Richard Louv’s Intention
This disorder is not listed in any medical manuals of mental or physical disorders, and I don’t believe achieving that kind of official recognition was Louv’s aim. Instead, he used this term to point out a deep truth: as part of our evolutionary heritage, human beings – both children and adults – have a profound need for time in wild, outdoor spaces, and we suffer when we don’t get it.
Major Contributing Factor
To Nature Deficit Disorder
One of the main contributors to nature deficit disorder in children, Louv contends, is sensationalist media coverage of “stranger danger.” These stories create the impression that the uncommon crimes of child abduction or molestation are highly likely when children venture out of sight of their homes. He also blames electronic and social media – the “lure of the screen” – for presenting an easy, almost irresistible virtual alternative to outdoor play.
Intensive Research is in Agreement
“However, the intensive research that has been carried out is now in agreement with Louv’s discovery into the health issues that arise from a lack of exposure to nature.” That children today are missing out on experiencing these fundamental foundations that by spending time in nature is both physically and psychologically beneficial to both children mental, emotional, and physical health. This discovery also includes that of adults, as in general adults are also spending less time in nature.
Attention Restoration Theory – Incorporating Nature into Daily Living
The University of Illinois study found that interaction with nature can reduce symptoms of attention deficit disorder in children. Indeed, the “Attention Restoration Theory” pioneered by University of Michigan psychologists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan is based on research showing that time spent in spending time in nature, by watching a sunset, gazing at the ocean or mountains, sitting in a park, escaping to the countryside or a nature retreat, or even just spending a few minutes to sit outdoors in your own backyard, provides the opportunity to rest, reflect, to restore mental and emotional balance, increase attention span, improve self-discipline, cognitive performance and reduce stress.
Nature Deprivation: Driver of Negative Psychological Issues
There is now a great deal of evidence proving that nature deprivation is a major driver of many negative psychological issues, including the anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, loss of social skills and emotional outbursts. Indoor, sedentary lifestyles almost certainly contribute to the obesity epidemic as well.
Enjoying Nature & Keeping Children Safe
While it is important to keep your children safe and must always be a priority. It is also important to allow them to explore the outdoors in a safe environment. Making outdoor activities a priority, walking to school with them, going on regular picnics, outdoor excursions and making your backyard a playground a plants, encouraging birds and nature to visit. This has great health benefits for adults as well as children.
“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)
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 playgrounds 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.
5 Keys How to Start Helping your Children Thrive!
Parents and Caregivers are the important people whom will help children to grow, learn and have wonderful adventures in nature.
- 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 campfire, catching your own fish for tea and looking up at the stars at night.
- Visit National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries – Regular visits to the zoo, national parks and wildlife 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. Kinaesthetic 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.
Thriving vs Surviving: Merely Existing
“It has been well documented that animals don’t thrive in enclosed environments; they merely exist. Similarly, children don’t thrive by merely being in classrooms; they only learn academic basics. Many children switch off due to overexposure to TV, social media, and the internet, which can decrease their mental ability to think for themselves and deplete their imagination.”
Getting back to Nature is an Important Place to Start!
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