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Nature Deficit Disorder and Less Outside Time:Bad For Kids’ Health

When A Lack of Outside Time and Nature Strikes An Imbalance in Our Kids

Walking in the Woods

Walking in the Woods On A Beautiful Day

There is a compelling theory on one reason for the rising rate of attention deficit disorder, anxiety and depression in our children.  Maybe our kids are not getting enough real contact with nature.

Nature deficit disorder refers to a hypothesis by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods.

He states that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors in nature resulting in a range of behavioral problems. Louv argues that because children are spending more time indoors and less time connecting with nature the inner need and desire of a child to connect with their natural surroundings is not met.

Because a connection with nature is a need of a growing child, a child can potentially be inbalanced from not enough interactions with nature.

I could expand on this, could you?

I would like to argue that a lack of nature and outside time not only adds to potential behavioral issues in some children, but there are also the physical health issues. A child who doesn’t spend time outside moving doesn’t reach their full physical potential. There is a physical need to be outside in sunlight with fresh air and to be free and creative doing this. Not enough outside time can lead to health issues such as obesity, lack of vitamin D and muscle weakness (among other issues).

Running in the Mountain Sun

Running Free in the Valley

A child should be free to run, touch and experience outside for a minimum of one hour a day.

Sun for Vitamin D

A Sunny Day: Perfect for Some Vitamin D

Fresh air and sunlight. Do you know children (and adults) produce Vitamin D from sunlight in our bodies?

But could we take it one step further?

Biophilia hypothesis and the instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems

Close your eyes and think about when you were a child, do you have memories of special times with a home pet or another animal? What about a horse? Farm animal? A dog or cat that was found abandoned?

Contact With Animals

These experiences for children, the contact with other living systems, the outside time, the connection with nature are not a privilege for our children, they are a necessity.
This is the theory behind biophilia hypothesis.

Visiting Farms to Meet the New Arrivals

Visiting Farms to Meet the New Arrivals

Today was a gorgeous day here in SouthWest France. Took the kids to the next door woods. It was, as it always is: therapeutic.

And not just for them.

My call to action is to push our kids out the door more, to take them to the woods, to find them some nature and animals. Do you agree?

Share with me your nature stories. Connect with some feedback in the leave a reply section below.

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Take the Path Less Traveled

Take the Path Through The Woods

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.  From Robert Frost , “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” 1923

(Note: in New Jersey where I grew up there is a big problem with Lyme Disease transmitted via deer ticks. Walking in the woods puts you and your child at risk to get bit by a deer tick that could carry Lyme Disease. I would weigh the benefits and risks. We still walk in the woods in New Jersey with high white socks and insects spray. At home we do a good examination to be sure there is no ticks. The walks in the woods are beautiful and I wouldn’t give this up.

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