Wednesday, February 6, 2019

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Are Your Kids Connected with Nature?

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a commodity to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
                                   --Aldo Leopold, from A Sand County Almanac

Children should be active throughout the day, especially kids ages 3-5.  For kids 6-17 years of age, 60 minutes or more of physical activity is recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Due to technology and smart phones, however, many kids are spending too much time on their screens and not enough time outside. 

Children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are 5x as likely as normal-weight children to be overweight or obese as adults.
We need to get better at encouraging outdoor playtime as a community strategy for reversing childhood obesity.  Kids need to be able to research bugs, follow butterflies, and listen to the birds. 

A healthy love of nature was encouraged for my brothers and me as we grew up in California.  We went camping under the Redwoods, the oldest living trees on the planet, enjoying hikes through the Sierra and Coastal Mountains and swimming in the cold northern California lakes.  This habit of playing outdoors and connecting with nature was established when I was little and is still one of my favorite habits.

When kids smell a gardenia or watch a butterfly dance on a flower, their senses come alive and pure joy awakens the curiosity that makes our journey through life meaningful.  Connecting with nature teaches kids how to manage stress and live a balanced life. 

Image result for kids playing outside "org"

Are your kids connected with nature?  Are they outside playing, running, and exploring?  If they are, they will thank you the rest of their lives.

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.