It can be easy to forget that children’s mental health needs can be just as complex as that of adults. We might not view the kind of day-to-day stresses and anxieties that children experience as seriously as we do our own but, even if they’re not showing obvious signs of frustration, it’s important not to overlook your child’s mental health needs.
We here at Artificial Grass Direct are big believers in the powers of the outdoors and we’re here to tell you why a little time in the garden every day can go a long way in benefitting your child’s mental health.
The Sciencey Bit
There are loads of studies that suggest spending time outdoors has a positive impact on the mental health of children and young people. Researchers in Holland found that as little as 20-30 mins of outdoor time a day can significantly reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Research from the University of Essex found that just five minutes of exercise in an outdoor environment can rapidly improve self-esteem in young people. And studies from the University of Exeter suggest the colour green and exposure to green spaces can work wonders for children’s mental health.
But How Does It Work?
We know that spending time in the garden is good for children but why is it good for them? Exposure to natural light (even on overcast days) allows children to soak up Vitamin D which helps their brains produce the mood regulating hormone serotonin. Spending more time in the garden also helps give children a break from busy schedules and screen time, allowing them to relax and give their eyes a rest. Children are far more likely to exercise and be active when outdoors too, with more space to move and freedom to play in a way that they wouldn’t get to indoors.
I’m Convinced, How Can I Help My Children Spend More Time in the Garden?
Making the garden fun for children requires a little bit of work from parents but it’s well worth the effort. Your children are far more likely to spend time in the garden if you are out there with them so consider garden games and activities you can do together. These could range from arts and crafts all the way to treasure/scavenger hunts. These kinds of activities work well in all weathers and spaces of all sizes, so you can enjoy time outdoors even in the smallest of gardens.
Cold weather and mud can be discouraging in the winter time so make sure to wrap up warm and get those wellington boots on. If you’re worried about grass stains or little ones trekking mud throughout the house, consider artificial grass for a mess free alternative that looks great all year ‘round. Enjoy BBQs and water play in the summer or try your hand at having at back garden picnics or camping. The possibilities are endless.