Did you know that the average American child spends over seven hours in front of a screen every single day?
It’s a mind-blowing number that becomes even more shocking when compared to the research showing that same child spends less than ten minutes in freeform outdoor play per day. It hardly seems possible when I think about my own dirt-road upbringing, but given the onslaught of increasingly pervasive technology, Nature Deficit Disorder has become a legitimate threat in today’s world.
The term itself may seem a little hokey, and is not actually medically diagnosed, but the data is there to back it up. Access to open, green environments has proven to have a positive impact in children studied throughout the years in critical areas such as confidence, academic achievement, stress-relief, and social and emotional well-being.
As adults, we have all experienced that literal and metaphorical breath of fresh air when we make the time to get outside—away from phones, televisions, laptops, tablets…need I continue? It’s no different for our kids. The stresses of growing and learning can weigh heavy, and children are desperate (despite their moaning at our demands for screen-free time) for that relief. Just fifteen minutes a day can make all the difference.
So, schedule some time to get outside with your kids this week. And better yet, encourage them to play freely while you take in some fresh air of your own. We’ll all feel healthier for it.
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