Thursday 11 April 2024

Obvious. Kids' health benefits from green spaces.

NEWS AND OPINION: Kids benefit from nature. They benefit from being in green spaces, by connecting with nature. This is a vitally important statement. It is known to me and many others. A study recently confirmed that green spaces may help small children avoid black moods i.e. depression ultimately.

Young child enjoys woodland. Image: MikeB (Canva).

The lead author of the study, in America, is Nissa Towe-Goodman. She is a researcher from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University Of North Carolina. The finding is that children between the ages of 2-5 were less likely according to the study to show signs of loneliness, low mood and anxiety if they lived within 0.75 of a mile of somewhere with plenty of vegetation. A reference to woodland or parkland. And they found that children who were able to connect with nature like this were less likely to be withdrawn in social situations.
Green spaces are linked to mental well-being in humans.
Nissa said: "Our research suggests that the early childhood years are a crucial time for exposure to green spaces."

She added that, "In the future researchers could look into what kinds of  experiences in nature are connected to kids' early mental health. Also we should study how creating or preserving natural areas around homes and schools might make a difference in a child's mental health."

I'm surprised that it appears to be revealed as some sort of revelation and new knowledge. It isn't. Every day I go into a park to connect with nature because I know it is good for my personal well-being particularly my mental health. To deny children the opportunity to connect with nature in this way is really denying them something very fundamental in my view.

The research is very important because we read so much today about children having suicidal thoughts or self harming. I'm referring mainly to schoolchildren but the problem probably goes back to toddlers. They must be taken away from their phones and living a life internally which is what social media can achieve, to living life externally, going into nature, going into beautiful spaces where there are trees and where wildlife thrives. This is a connection with nature.

The study found that high levels of green spaces within about 20 minute walk of a child's home were linked with low anxiety and depression.

What's this got to do with cats? The same can apply to cats in my view. Humans are human-animals. We need to connect with our roots which is connecting with nature. Cats need to be able to express their natural desires which means being allowed outside to prey on animals. To hunt. That goes against the current trend of keeping cats indoors. It will upset some people but ultimately the domestic cat is a top predator and it needs the opportunity to exercise that fundamental skill and innate desire.

Keeping cats indoors full-time is laudable and it protects wildlife but almost no cat caregivers ensure that the inside of of their home is enriched in terms of a feline environment. A failure in this indoor-cat MO.

In the meantime, mothers and dads should ensure that their child takes a moment out every day, perhaps an hour, to walk in woodland. Enjoy nature. That may be difficult to achieve for many people but I feel that it is very important.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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