Child Psychologists in Littleton Recommend Outside Time for Your Kids

Children at play

As a parent, you spend countless hours trying to figure out how to help your kids live their best lives. For some, that may involve working with a child psychologist in Littleton, but for many, at-home interventions can make a big difference. Whether you’re looking for some evidence-based tools to help your child feel more positive, a science-backed approach to anxiety, or a way to increase mindfulness, outdoor time might be your answer!

Time in Nature Decreases Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Across multiple scientific studies, there is a beneficial relationship between spending time in nature and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. This was first studied in adults, but as more research is done on children and adolescent mental health, the same patterns are showing up. Being outside can be as helpful for some people as popular medications!

The Great Outdoors is Amazing for ADHD

If your child has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you need a lot of tools in your toolbox. These kids are often “on the go” (hyperactive type) or “in the clouds” (inattentive type), or maybe a mix of both! When you let your child spend time outdoors, you are reducing all of the “shoulds” that come with indoor activity. There’s not much you “should” look at outside, not a lot of rules you “should” follow—and there’s so much to explore! When your child goes outside, makes a plan (climb that tree!), gets the equipment (I can borrow a ladder!) and carries it out (I’m at the top!) they are building executive function skills. In coordination with behavior techniques, medication consultations, and parenting strategies, making time to be outside can be a part of your management of ADHD.

Physicians and Psychologists Recommend Free Playtime

Your kids’ schedules shouldn’t look like they belong to a CEO. Is there play time in your child’s day? Free time is when your child gets a chance to think independently, create and solve problems, direct their own course, and explore what is on their mind. Today’s parents want their children to have such a head start that we can miss free time—but your child’s self-regulation, social skills, and executive functioning can all be improved with a healthy dose of playtime. How much? At least an hour of unstructured, child-directed, truly “free play” is advised.

Promote Good Health and Vision on the Playground

Okay, this last point isn’t really a psychologist’s expertise—but outdoor time promotes good physical health and good eyesight. The next generation’s vision is predicted to be worse than ever, and they are moving less than ever—get them off screens and outside to help promote whole-body health!

Like most things in life, there is no easy fix for mental health or behavior problems. Outdoor activity and free time are powerful tools, but you and your child may need a variety of solutions to handle problems effectively and communicate feelings clearly. For expert help, call a child psychologist in Littleton for a consultation today!