The term “nature-deficit disorder” was first coined by author Richard Louv back in 2005. However, it’s not until lately that its repercussions are being more widely discussed.
This is because it’s more apparent that today’s youth are more dependent on technology than ever before, widening the gap between the younger generation and nature. This, in turn, results in observable adverse effects in physical growth and mental development, which should not be ignored any longer.
The fact is, nature offers us humans so many gifts that contribute to good health and mental clarity, at the most basic level. Kids stand to benefit from these most of all, making it necessary for parents and educators alike to really take action and find compelling enough reasons for kids to spend time outside.
Here are some resources to help you understand the problem and some great activity ideas to help fix it.
More Nature Means Healthier and Happier
A lack of time in the great outdoors might not sound like such a bad thing. After all, humans have worked hard at creating a life that gets us away from hard physical labor and insects, and allows us to enjoy air conditioning and cushy chairs instead. But those benefits come with a price, and it can sneak up on you.
You might be surprised to learn Nature-Deficit Disorder could be making you sick, overweight and depressed. Contact with nature is a boon to your well-being, and it could even be said that nature is a form of therapy.
What Will You Do?
If you aren’t used to spending much time outside, it might sound pretty boring. After all, what will you do while you’re out there? If you’re picturing vegging, while that’s a possibility, there are plenty of other outdoorsy ways to entertain yourself and those you love. Nature is loaded with opportunities to delight the senses, such as:
Again, many kids need to have an incentive to go outside, so it’s important to have activities in your arsenal that are as mentally engaging as they are enjoyable.
Thankfully, that’s often all it takes to mitigate the unhealthy effects of nature-deficit disorder, so it’s not really rocket science. The best part is, you can benefit from it, too. Win-win!
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- Anya Willis
Anya Willis is a mother of three and has been a yoga instructor for the past 12 years. For most of her childhood Anya struggled with her weight. She was a bookworm since the moment she could read, and had zero interest in physical activity. In school, she was bullied because of her weight, and it wasn’t until she took a yoga class in college that things started to change. She fell in love with how yoga used her whole body and mind. For Anya this was the catalyst she needed, she found a new interest in her physical health and started striving for a healthier life. Reflecting on her younger years, Anya became passionate about kids being active and healthy. Learn more about Anya at fitkids.info