Children Need to Spend Alone Time Outdoors to Connect with Nature
According to a new study; Spending time alone outdoors, be it fishing, hunting, exploration, helps the child to strengthen his bond with nature.
Combine these thought-provoking moments in nature with outdoor social activities like camping or scouting. Thus, this lively connection between you and the natural world could potentially last a lifetime. Researchers point out that this is beneficial not only for one’s long-term mental and physical health but also for the future of our planet.
Kathryn Stevenson, an environmental education researcher from the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University:
“There are all kinds of benefits to connecting with nature. One of the benefits we highlight is that children who have a strong connection to nature are more likely to pay attention to the environment in the future. ”
The new study proves that being outdoors as a child can strengthen personal well-being and one’s closeness to nature. Even access to city parks and trees can make a big difference.
Stevenson’s most recent research; shows that lonely moments in these areas are important, especially when it comes to children’s identification with nature and their comfort. This will make them want to protect nature as they get older. Of course, that doesn’t mean adults shouldn’t supervise their kids to make sure they’re safe. Studies show that it may be beneficial to stay a few steps back and observe children rather than being directly involved.
Building a strong bond with nature
In the study, the researchers asked 1,285 children in North Carolina to answer a series of questions about hay between the ages of 9 and 12 that they spent outdoors. They wanted to know if these kids were spending time hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, or sporting outdoors, and how they felt about the natural world in general.
Were they comfortable in the wild?
Did they enjoy being outside?
Have they ever paid attention to the different plants and animals in their environment?
Stevenson: “We saw that there were certain different combinations of activities to establish a strong connection with nature, but the important starting point was being outside at a more lonely event.”
Children who took time to think outdoors while fishing, hunting, or hiking showed stronger connections with nature. This doesn’t mean that social time spent outdoors is unimportant, but having some time to think to yourself can have a bigger impact in childhood than we think.
Fishing and Hunting Is Quite Important
Previous research has also emphasized the importance of solitude in nature, but in the past, fishing and hunting have been excluded from this equation. However, the authors argue that these activities also require an intense focus on certain aspects of the natural world. At a time when many children know more Pokémon than native wildlife, it can be an important avenue for biodiversity knowledge and even conservation behavior.
One study found that, except for birdwatchers, hunters were among the most active conservationists among people participating in adult outdoor activities.
Childhood Experiences Motivate Forward
Stevenson: “When people who enter an environmentally focused career look at their lives, they describe their childhood experiences of formative, such as walking down a favorite trail or exploring a creek next to their home. We know that such meaningful life experiences are a forward motivator. ”
If we get children to engage in such activities in their most formative years, we can help raise a new generation that adapts to the environment more than ever.
Additionally, the study found that demographic variables such as gender or ethnicity did not affect the child’s connection to nature. Although less exposure to outdoor activities was an indirect effect, there was no significant difference between genders or between different races and ethnic groups after participation was taken into account.