By Marli Naidoo
The level 3 lockdown provides more freedom to be able to exercise any time of the day. We can therefore once again go walking or biking with our children. In Japan, where people experience high work pressure, they make use of forest therapy, where people are afforded the opportunity to apply the healing and calming effect of nature for their own mental health, by absorbing nature’s beauty.
When our children spend time outdoors, the sun helps their bodies to manufacture vitamin D, which is important for bone development and a strong immune system.
When children are outside, they are inclined to run and jump around. This exercise is good for their bodies as well as their mental health. They will argue less and in the evenings fall asleep easier.
It is important for children to sometimes tackle something challenging. They learn where their boundaries are, build self-confidence, and get up again when they fall. It is nerve-wracking to see how your child charges down a high slope with his bike, but it is important that you close your eyes and allow him to do so. He will find it to be very exciting. It has also been found that overcoming physical challenges can serve as anti-phobia behaviour therapy. Children learn to manage frightening situations.
An appreciation of nature is cultivated when time is spent outdoors. Children make a connection between pleasure and the wind in their hair. They learn that we have to take care of nature and build it, and to protect it for future generations.
Children who play outside are less inclined to develop near-sightedness or myopia.
When children are outside, their sensory experiences multiply. They can compare the rough bark of a tree trunk with the silky softness of a flower. In this way your child’s vocabulary is enlarged when you talk about what he feels, sees and experiences.
It has been found that children are more attentive and focused after they have played outside.
Of course, your child is not the only person who benefits from the time you spend together outside. You yourself will feel more positive about the lockdown and personal challenges after you have ventured outside for a spell.
Harvard Health: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/6-reasons-children-need-to-play-outside-2018052213880
Parenting science: https://www.parentingscience.com/benefits-of-outdoor-play.html
Sanford Health: https://news.sanfordhealth.org/childrens/play-outside/