Children these days spend far more time inside than outside. Pediatricians say this generation is the first that will have a lower life expectancy than that of their parents. The advances of previous generations are reversing the wellbeing of our children, they are being systematically destroyed by our sedentary lifestyle.
The solution is not simply about adding more ‘football’ or ‘netball’ practice, because the rise in obesity has been paralleled with the rise in organised sports. For many children, they’ve simply lost the steps between getting to these sports.
Getting outside as recommended by our GP’s (and our grandparents!) is the answer. But in Freeplay .. Running, climbing .. or just ‘being’.
Time in Nature is not leisure time (or as is the current fashion a wast of time) – it is an essential investment in our children’s health. A syndrome – Nature Deficit Disorder – has arisen because we, this generation, has taken the benefits of Nature away from our children.
|It is a fact that Lifers in jail get more time in the exercise yard than our children get freeplay.|
A cutting edge research of anthropological and neuro science helped us to understand ADHD. And it’s just not that complicated.
To explain: Naure Play helps us to be physically and emotionally adaptable. It is the foundations of our health. This happens with the balancing of two parts of our neervous system.
1) Sympathetic Nervous system. (Flight or flight – it is about sharpening our awareness). This engages when we are target focused; concentrating on a single object or task.
2) Parasympathetic Nervous system. This engages when we are field focused. When we are lazily gazing at a vast expanse. Our senses here are more open. The are taking in broad information.
Nature combines Field focus and Target focus in a flow. The child is moving fluidly between them. Nature encourages a more flexible and adaptive state. Which in time settles into an internal coping strategy.
The modern world for as much as 5% – 10% of the population find this flow difficult. They displace and jump in and out of focus, with hypersensitive and confusing results. School systems can unfortunately exacerbate this if there is an absence of pressure valve. In many schools, for instance, breaktime is taken away as a punishment… but this only making the child worse. Directed attention fatigue sets in. Their field vision is shut down more – it’s extension curtailed. The children get locked into the target and life gets scrambled. Nature offers an uncomplicated way out.
At home – video games often exacerbate this jump (or deprivation) of field focus. Gaming and technology deprive full use of the senses. Not giving full use to our senses locks the child down into target only focus. The opposite of Nature play.
Further, cultural shifts have conspired to have our children in a more structured sedentary indoors life.
TV: Video Games: Homework on the increase: Shorter holidays: Less Open Spaces: Health and Safety obsession: Perceived Dangers on the street….. Now a days 75meters is the average distance that children can go from their house! And now studies show that 20 minutes is the average time a toddler spends not locked into a carseat, stroller, high chair, sofa or in some sort of restriction
Being outside means the attention is challenged in a number of ways. The joy for parents to know is that when you are in nature you don’t have to programme anything. You follow your child’s curiosity .. hopefully reminding you of yours.
Nature Sense offers a specific ADHD/ADD programme and consultation to schools and parents.