It has been observed that getting some fresh air can cause huge improvements to a person’s mental state. Therefore, creating a bond with nature and the outdoors is critical for people of all ages. The best time to start this is from a young age, as this a good foundation for great mental health in later life.
Along with Winston’s Wish, specialists in young people support through tackling bereavement, we’ll uncover exactly how important is it for our children’s minds that they spend time outside and in nature.
Boosting happiness naturally
The flood of positive emotions providing a feel-good experience after exercise is also mimicked after just a short 15-minute walk through a park or into a nature rich location. Making a conscious effort to take some time to go for a walk can help to keep both our mind and body feeling happy and healthy, and it is one of the only ‘free’ ways to feel excellent.
Human interaction and communication are necessities of all. These relationships are only furthered by nature and outdoor settings. Many people experience a stronger sense of relief when they walk while discussing an issue that they’re experiencing, as it can feel like a more suitable environment to truly clear their thoughts. In children, listening and being listened to promotes a healthy sense of self-esteem, and connecting with other youngsters provides the base for solid future connections.
In the first instance of a child experiencing bereavement it can be a very challenging experience to explain to and comfort them, there is also a struggle for parents to try and assist their children in revealing and sharing their hurt. The characteristics of nature can be useful tools for explaining life cycles, discussing how new growth happens and how natural elements assist. These practical examples can alleviate the challenges involved in guiding a child through loss, developing a healthy understanding of life.
Nature has a number of benefits in times of sadness, often feeling therapeutic as well as providing a break from busy life with time to contemplate the future and provide a new perspective. Winston’s Wish offers nature walks, where families can take some time away from their normal routines and spend time walking and talking through their feelings, or they simply embrace the tranquillity of nature while grieving.
Greif through adult life comes across as a far more constant feeling and emotion however during childhood it occurs as far more reoccurring. Winston’s Wish offer nature walks, that can provide a safe, open environment in which young people can discuss their feelings in a calm setting. This allows them to process their emotions and develop strong coping mechanisms which will guide them through life.
The value of experiences
Classroom learning is great for teaching children, however this can be furthered and cemented by real life experiences. By allowing children to explore the outdoors, they can become more aware of new habitats and the life which thrives there. Their understanding of nature is enhanced in this way, encountering a whole host of new sources of imagination and creativity in doing so. Children can build dens and enact their favourite stories outdoors — they might even find a hungry caterpillar along the way! Even on a rainy day, you could get your kids waterproofs out of the cupboard (and don’t forget an umbrella for yourself!) and encourage them to go on an outdoor adventure — a lot of fun can be had while jumping through puddles!
Knowing their limits
Children learn about themselves and their bodies when exploring the outdoors, whilst running, climbing and exploring (all done safely of course) they learn of their own limits, functions and their pace whilst developing all of these. In doing so, character development happens, and they learn to enjoy certain activities. Pace is also an important aspect of grief, a feeling for which there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, so children can determine what works best for them and their own unique feelings in these difficult scenarios.
Sending time out of your day outdoors can have a huge number of benefits and positive outcomes on each individual’s wellbeing, including improving respiratory and helping with weight control. Feeling calm, inspired and safe is all possible in nature, and children should be encouraged to spend time immersed in natural surroundings from an early age to promote positivity even in the most challenging of times.
Children should be pushed and encouraged to spend as much time as possible outdoors and amongst nature. In doing so it will allow them improved innovation whilst allowing tor feelings of calmness and security. This will promote more positivity from an early age.