Close your eyes for a second and think that you are on a nature walk in the park. You could just imagine the warmth of the sun and the mixed smell of soil and leaves in the air. It’s a very calming experience, isn’t it? However, the outdoors isn’t only beneficial to adults. You might be surprised how much impact it has on children too. If you think about it, each park visit serves as a learning experience for your child. The outdoors offers a lot of stimuli, and you can let your child discover new things themselves. Sounds marvelous, huh? But wouldn’t bringing a child to the park stressful?
The term “a walk in the park” refers to something that is easy to accomplish. Therefore, it’s only fitting that each “walk in the park” should be a relatively easy task. Some parents might not even call it a task since they treat these walks a bonding moment for the whole family. Each member gets to have a breath of fresh air (pun intended) from their fast-phase life; who could say no to that? But if you’re still not convinced that it will be easy to bring your child, we have two words for you: travel system.
As mentioned by CuteLittleDarling.com, you can find a travel system for whatever reason you have. You pretty much have no excuse since there are car seat stroller combos for rough terrain, for exercising, for twins, and even for small vehicles. And to help seal the deal, here are more reasons to take your child to the park with you:
Growing Up with Better Mental Health and Cognitive Development
The Aarhus University in Denmark conducted a research and found out the relevance of growing up near a green space in having better mental health. The result is pretty impressive, considering the risk of developing mental health disorders in adulthood is 55 percent lower.
A good explanation behind this is the fact that nature buffers the stress caused by a noisy and populated city. Did you know that air pollution also plays a role in a child’s cognition? There are even several studies that show how green space affects the brain structure positively. For example, a 2015 research has proven the significance of nature to a child’s cognitive development.
Natural environments such as parks give children the opportunity to engage in various tasks and challenges, both physically and mentally. These moments inspire kids to take risks and discover new things, which in turn, improves their creativity, sense of self and wonder, as well as mastery and control. All in all, these effects influence different aspects of cognitive development and psychological restoration.
Ever wonder why green spaces seem to have positive psychological and physiological effects on us? According to Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond, these effects can root from our evolution. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that it is innate in us to be inclined towards nature. It is also the proponents of this hypothesis that argue the importance of nature on a child’s brain development.
Improved Physical Health and Development
We have talked about the benefits of outdoors in a child’s mental health, but going outside also affects a child’s physical development. First, everyone needs sun exposure to make vitamin D. Especially for children, this vitamin plays a vital role in the immune system and even to bone development. If you and your child get your healthy dose of sunshine, you will notice that you will have improved moods and even better sleep.
You can also take this opportunity to exercise with your child. You can jog or use a stroller, nonetheless, this a way for you to promote a healthy lifestyle early on. If children learned to enjoy being physically active, they might choose these healthy habits over hunching over blue screens.
Another reason on how the outdoors help in a child’s physical development is that it allows them to explore different things be it by touch or motion. These moments improve their motor skills, including power, coordination, and reaction time. Physical activities as simple as running even teaches kids about speed, agility, and direction.
Forming a Stronger Bond Among Family
As we have mentioned earlier, you can treat these visits to the park as bonding moments. Both parents and their children benefit in the trust and excitement that they get by interacting outside. It may not be noticeable, but even small moments like walking side by side have an impact on improving this relationship.
To back this up, researchers at the University of Illinois found out the benefits and effects of spending time as a family in nature. Dina Izenstark, who leads the study, mentioned that children who typically spend time outside with their family had improved attention. What this means is they are going to pick up on social cues more quickly, which is important for family relations (and socialization.) If you have improved attention, you will also have better self-control and become less irritable.
Improving Social Skills
When outside, your child is also going to encounter other people and kids. These interactions give them the chance to learn social skills on their own. Going to the park lets them know how to communicate better and deal with rules and boundaries. These are things that are just impossible for them to experience inside the house.
Another vital aspect of development that parents often overlook is flexible thinking. Children must know early on how to adapt to a situation that changes. They must learn to come up with their own solutions, no matter how random a moment gets.
As a parent, it is your duty to take advantage of every situation, no matter how small. Every detail out of every day is a chance to help with your child’s growth. You can start with something easy. Something as simple as going to the park is going to be beneficial for both you and your child. In a way, it will also help the environment too. If you introduce your child to the outdoors, their awareness of its beauty can inspire them to appreciate it more. It might even inspire them to take care of the environment better as well.