Studies show that childhood depression (And even suicide!!) are at an all time high. Studies show that what can make a significant difference is being outside enough! The average American child spends only 7 minutes per day outside!! It's no wonder they are depressed and "hyperactive!" When my parents were growing up, the outside was the main source of entertainment. Kids routinely went down to the creek to fish, swim, whatever! They played in the fields, rode their bike and played with a ball outside with friends. Then in my generation we had television. That greatly reduced the time we spent outside (not to mention time with friends!) . My Saturday mornings and probably an hour per day on weekdays were spent watching Bugs Bunny, I Dream of Genie and Bewitched but it was limited to the time that a show was aired. Most of the time, there was nothing on TV so we played outside. Then my kids' generation got video games. Hello being in front of a screen for hours and hours every day! Now our society has added social media and you tube where there is ALWAYS something on "TV" and you can see why we have a major problem.
It's so tempting! Busy parents have things to do and screen time makes the child into a quiet, compliant zombie. It takes intentionality and commitment to resist the temptation to plop them down in front of a screen. But we must resist!
So how much outside is enough? Well the more the better!! This meta study shows that a minimum of 2 hours per week makes a SIGNIFICANT difference in happiness and well-being. And the more natural the environment l, the better. The back yard is good, but out in the wild nature is better!! Fresh air, green thriving plants, and animals connect us to who we really are. Nature is calming, inspiring, it makes us happy when we are truly present in it.
So prioritze being outside in nature! Plan hikes and trips to natural areas. Start a nature journal! As much as possible, plan being outside every day for your mental health and happiness as well as your child's!