Do children actually benefit from being outdoors during winter?
Most parents tend to keep their children indoors more during Winter. This is usually due to the fear of their Children being cold and becoming sick. Does being outdoors in winter really lead to more frequent illness?
The answer may surprise some of you;
Being outdoors more in Winter does not make Children sick. Then why do we tend to get more sick during winter if it isn't from the cold weather?
During Winter we tend to spend more time indoors in closer proximity to people, therefore we are more likely to catch something off another person and become more exposed to bacteria in the indoor environment.
It is so important to ensure your child spends just as much time outdoors in
Winter then any other season, for more reasons then just avoiding illness.
When exploring the outdoors during winter children are exposed to different characteristic of the environment, each season provides different opportunities for learning. Learning to adapt to different weather and enjoy life even on the gloomy days can teach children resilience and to appreciate life no matter the weather.
With illness' being more prevalent during the colder months exposure to fresh air and vitamin D couldn't be more important. Vitamin D is especially important for immune system function. When children are exploring the outdoors they are exposed to less bacteria then the indoors.
There are huge benefits for children who spend more time outdoors not just in winter but in any season! So what are the benefits? Spending time outdoors benefits all areas of a Childs wellbeing. It enhances their physical wellbeing by allowing children to get exercise, develops their gross motor skills, helps develop their ability to assess risk and gives them an opportunity to explore their creativity and imagination in a different environment. Children's emotional and mental wellbeing is enhanced from the outdoors as it can help children build their self
confidence and resilience. Being outdoors can reduce stress levels, and can provide opportunities for children to overcome their fears, increase their concentration and connect and build relationships. Therefore outdoor play has increasing benefits for a Childs social and cognitive development.
Last but not least more time outdoors can help children to build a connection with nature that will hold many benefits for the rest of their life.
There are so many benefits for children spending adequate time outdoors in winter then any other season, therefore pop on a jumper or raincoat, slide on the gumboot and let your wildings spend their winter days exploring the outdoors.
"Its a wonderous thing how the wild calms the child" - Unknown