As I write this, it’s cold, it’s windy and it’s starting to get dark, i’m quite happy indoors thank you very much, but too much time spent inside can have a detrimental effect to the health and wellbeing of both us and our children.
On cold rainy days there is no wonder most of us would rather be indoors where we can keep warm and cosy and importantly, where we can be entertained at the touch of a button! It’s tempting, especially at this time of year to stay wrapped up warm in the confines of home, but getting up and spending time outdoors has a whole heap of benefits.
So, wrap up warm and stick your wellies in the boot. Grab the dog, grab the kids and head outdoors, you’ll be doing yourself a favour and you’ll definitely be doing your kids a big favour – fresh air is invigorating and really can do wonders for us!
Using up energy means they will sleep better
We all know children can be a pain at times, running around the house and being generally boisterous, behaving in a way that just isn’t appropriate or practical inside the home. Due to the sedentary lifestyle of many children, they often have a glut of energy and no real outlet, but healthy, happy kids need exercise!
Getting outside gives children one of the things that they really love. Loads of space in which to behave like a kid, and that generally means room for running around, climbing, hiding, exploring and playing in joyful exuberance.
Walking, running and outdoor play in general, is an excellent way of improving your child’s cardiovascular health and it also helps them burn up that excess energy, making them calmer and helping them to sleep better at night.
A change of scenery can boost imagination
When stuck indoors, children usually stick to the same activities, often sat in front of the TV or a tablet or computer screen. With constant entertainment on tap, kids have much less incentive to explore their own imagination, so getting away from digital distractions is important in helping your child’s imagination and creativity flourish.
A simple woodland walk can turn into a magical experience, try getting them to look for evidence of fairy doors or bridges that trolls might live under. Get them to hunt out acorns that look like they have faces, play Pooh sticks, build a den or complete a nature inspired scavenger hunt.
Getting back to nature improves wellbeing
With so much of our lives spent indoors in man made surroundings, it is easy to loose touch with the the natural world. Being around nature can have a calming and grounding effect and as such, spending time outdoors in the countryside is an excellent way to reduce anxiety and stress.
The old adage ‘a change is a good as a rest’ really is true, and there is nothing like a brisk Spring walk in the woods to clear away the cobwebs, and give both yourself and your children a renewed sense of wellbeing.
Outdoor play means happy Children
Inside the home there are often a whole bunch of pesky rules children have to adhere to, and for good reason – No one wants a football kicked through their flat screen TV or a broken bed that’s been used as a trampoline!
Outside (in a safe environment) there are often fewer rules for children to consider, letting them behave more freely. Things that they can’t usually do at home (like climb on the furniture), they are suddenly free to do outside.
Even simple things like splashing in a muddy puddle, climbing a tree or kicking a pile of leaves into the air can be a joyful experience. Letting our children have fun makes them smiley and happy, and encouraging them to do it outdoors is a great way of getting them up off their bums and out in the fresh air!