Being a kid is great fun! However, as per psychologists, just like adults, kids can also experience varying degrees of stress which, if not managed, can lead to serious mental and physical health problems. So it’s important to get help early if you think your child may be depressed. The longer it goes on, the more likely it is to disrupt your child's life and turn into a long-term problem.
Does your child also often feel stressed and depressed? You need a solution! A walk in the woods is likely to improve his/her mood, as per researchers.
Some symptoms of depression in children often include:
- Sadness, or a low mood that doesn't go away
- Being irritable or grumpy all the time
- Not being interested in things they used to enjoy
- Feeling tired and exhausted a lot of the time
The study, led by a team from the University of Hong Kong, revealed that children who developed a closer connection with nature, had less distress, less hyperactivity and had a healthy lifestyle with regard to active play and eating habits. They also had fewer behavioural and emotional difficulties, as well as improved pro-social behaviour.
However, despite the extensive, adjacent greenness, many families are not using these areas, the researchers rued in the paper published in the PLOS ONE journal.
Tanja Sobko from the University's School of Biological Sciences said, "We noticed a tendency where parents are avoiding nature. They perceive it as dirty and dangerous, and their children unfortunately pick up these attitudes.”
“In addition, the green areas are often unwelcoming with signs like ‘"Keep off the grass’",” Sobko added.
Recent research shows that spending time with nature may bring many health benefits, and many environmental programmes around the world are trying to decrease 'nature-deficit' and 'child-nature disconnectedness' in order to improve children's health.
For the study, the team prepared a new 16-item parent questionnaire (CNI-PPC) to measure "connectedness to nature”' in very young children. The questionnaire identified four areas that reflect the child-nature relationship: enjoyment of nature, empathy for nature, responsibility towards nature and awareness of nature.
The results give a new possibility for investigating the link between the outdoor environment and well-being in pre-school children. The team further plans to test the effect of exposing children to nature and changes in their gut microbiota.
(With inputs from IANS)