When I was a kid, my parents were always telling us to go outside and play. I thought we were driving them a little crazy and they were trying to find some peace in their day. That very well may be the case. But they were on to something. Fresh air and green time are good for our brains.
How much green time do your kids get? Green time, or the time spent playing outdoors that are more natural like, the backyard, a park, or soccer field – any area that has trees or an expansive lawn is considered greener.
Studies have shown green time is good for us, especially those with ADHD.
Here are some interesting findings:
- Those who play regularly in the same green outdoor settings do have milder ADHD symptoms than those who play indoors or in playgrounds.
- Children who were hyperactive had less severe symptoms playing in an open environment, such as a soccer field, rather than in a green space with lots of trees.
- Children generally concentrated better after a walk in the park than they did after two other kinds of walks — in a “green” downtown area and in a residential neighborhood.
- The greenest space was best at improving attention. Not sure what it is about the park — the greenness or the lack of buildings — that seems to do the trick, but a dose of nature may be as helpful, at least for a while, as a dose of stimulant medication, in increasing attention.
- Green time won’t eliminate ADHD symptoms but may temporarily ease them. The cause-and-effect relationship between exposure to nature and improved concentration and impulse control is a low-cost, side-effect free way to help manage ADHD symptoms.
Try out some green time for yourself. When you’re noticing ADHD symptoms peaking throughout the day do as our parents did and send the kids outside!
- Go to the park.
- Play catch with the dog in the back yard.
- Walk the dog.
- Play Frisbee, soccer – anything your kid is interested in.
- Have a picnic in the park or backyard.
- Plant a garden and nurture it all summer long.
- Climb a tree.
Let your kids feel the grass between their toes, you’ll be glad you did.