CHILDREN & NATURE
Many children today have a lot less contact with nature than they used to and opportunities to play outdoors and enjoy the wonders of the natural world are becoming fewer and far between. This is why we need to carve out some time in nature, which is a great source of fun and education for children, particularly when they still haven’t learnt to read or gone to school yet. Gardening (even just looking for fruits or edible plants), climbing, running with their arms in the air through a field and birdwatching are all pleasurable and healthy activities that we can enjoy with our children.
CHILDREN AND WINTER
Despite what many parents might believe, paediatricians recommend that your child plays outside even in winter, because they are less likely to get ill during the cold season if they’re allowed to play outdoors.
So, let’s bust this myth about a child having to stay behind closed doors to prevent them catching colds or infections in winter.
In reality, if they’re wrapped up nice and warm and taken out at key times during the day, they’re less likely to catch infections than if they were shut in a room with poor air circulation for long periods of time. In fact, close contact with other children in closed environments is one of the main ways in which infectious diseases are spread.
The precious advice of our best experts is to let your child play outdoors even in winter. The important thing to remember is to wrap them up in a few extra layers, because in the first few years of life your child’s body is still unable to regulate body temperature effectively.
If the temperature drops, just make sure they’re always wearing a hat, gloves and scarf.
Seasonal illness can’t be avoided completely but, in the meantime, have some fun jumping in puddles, climbing trees, running in the rain and making snowballs!
So, the verdict is out: as long as they’re wrapped up properly, there’s no harm at all in taking them out to enjoy some outdoor winter activities.
5 GOOD REASONS CHILDREN SHOULD PLAY OUTDOORS!
With both parents at work all week, the way children play has considerably changed to how they used to in the past. Due to their parents’ absence, they often take part in a lot of out-of-school learning activities, which sadly means they have increasingly less time for play. And yet, play, particularly in the early years of life, is a vital part of learning and development.
It is through play that the child comes to understand the world around them and learns how to relate with others. Playing allows them to discover their abilities, express their creativity, develop a sense of independence and acquire a healthy and long-lasting curiosity.
Playing outdoors is also good for the psychological and physical health of the child and also helps prevent a number of illnesses.
So there’s more than one good reason to send them out of the house and let them play outdoors.
What are the benefits of playing outdoors?
1) Children that spend more time outdoors have better visual abilities compared to their peers who are used to playing at home. Varying visual fields, depths and exposure to different light intensities helps strengthen the optic nerve.
2) Children that play outdoors find it easier to socialise, because it helps them develop social and behavioural skills that are useful in adult life.
3) Playing outdoors helps reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D), a behavioural problem that can cause issues with concentration span, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
4) Spending time outdoors helps the child to relieve stress and the extra activity tires them out making it easier for them to rest and get a good night’s sleep.
5) Children that regularly play outside have a more developed immune system and absorb higher amounts of vitamin D, which helps prevent diseases of the heart, bones and metabolism.
CHILDREN & ANIMALS: THE ADVANTAGES OF GROWING UP TOGETHER
Dogs and children can make excellent playmates, because they have the same curiosity for the world around them. In fact, growing up together can have lots of benefits. A four-legged friend keeps them company when they’re alone and can console them when they’re sad. They also make playtime more fun and exciting and help the child develop important sentiments, like attention and respect towards others and a sense of responsibility. A dog is undoubtedly the most suitable pet for a child because it also enables them to build a deep, long-lasting attachment.
So, if your child keeps asking you for a dog, go out and get one right away. Numerous studies demonstrate that children who live with a pet rate higher on the emotional intelligence scale. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, express and manage our emotions and those of others. Children who have a pet at home will soon learn to look after them, helping them develop a stronger sense of empathy and compassion, not only for animals but other human beings too. Looking after a pet is a responsibility that can help a child feel more complete and independent. And because they talk to their pet as well, playing with a cat or dog helps them improve their language skills. Animals can help relieve negative emotions and reduce stress and they never judge or criticise – they’re always there to offer unconditional love and support.
Yes, the results are in: a dog at home not only makes your child happier, it also makes them healthier too! Recent studies demonstrate that children who live with a dog decreases their risk of developing respiratory infections by a third. This risk is diminished further if the dog spends a lot of time outdoors. Researchers believe that when the dog comes home after being outside for a long time, they bring more microbes into the house, which helps stimulate the child’s immune system.