Firstly apologies it has been a while since I last posted. Life at times seems to get so chaotic its hard to find time for anything more than the daily routine and mayhem. Having an hour to write a blog post seems a luxury.
That actually probably brings me quite nicely to this blog post and how it is so important to me to try and make time (if not for blog posts) for making sure the girls are having the opportunity to explore the natural environment and the world around them. Also for me too … being outside is my therapy.
After a long and draining week at work dragging your child outside for a walk (often in the rain too seeing that this is the UK) can often be the last thing any parent feels like doing, not too mention all the things we need to catch up on at home. Life in 21st Century Britain is so draining and really doesn’t leave much in the way for family time or just downtime in general. I really don’t want this to be a post to add to parent guilt … life days is busy and family time is a luxury that is increasingly hard to fit in with the demands of modern life. It is so hard to find time for the things that make us feel good and aid our mental health.
That all being said if I was prime minister I would definately pass a ruling that all children should spend at least half a day every week exploring their natural environment (ideally all adults too). Research has shown that children who play outside develop better language skills, are fitter and exhibit fewer behavioural problems. There is a real link between childhood obesity and a lack of time spent outside. There is also some evidence to suggest a link between childhood depression and lack of time spent outdoors.
Nothing compares to the freedom of playing outside and enhancing a child’s development. Not to mention the endless fun it brings. In this day and age with factors such as increasing traffic and a heightened awareness of stranger danger fewer children than ever are playing outside and getting to enjoy their natural environment. Coupled with the rise in technology staying indoors has never been more appealing.
I so strongly believe that being outdoors should be accessible for everyone. It really should be such a simple thing but has been been made so much harder by the world we live in today. I was so poorly with depression and anxiety before I brought a puppy (now a slightly larger version) and was forced to get outside everyday. The difference doing this has made is amazing. I am still not completely better but being outside is my therapy … it helps so much. I have also witnessed the difference it has made to my children. It helps the sibling arguments, their behaviour, our family interaction, their general knowledge, the way they interact with others, their fitness levels, their imagination, has positively influenced the way they play, their immunity is improved … I could go on as there really have been so many benefits to spending time outdoors I would struggle to write them all down.
As such it has made me so passionate that being outdoors and enjoying your natural environment is key to improving mental and physical health – be that in the middle of an urban area or the middle of nowhere – it’s something that all children and families should have the opportunity to experience on a regular basis. I am currently working on ways in which I can work with families to encourage this and really hope that through this blog I can do this.