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Get Kids off the Couch, Away From Screens, and on Hands and Knees in the Garden

There’s a problem facing an increasing number of children in today’s world. From the outset, they’re settling into a world where modern living is best described as sedentary. Most adults are less physically active than recommended, and devices permeate our lives from an early age. The resulting trends in obesity and screen time are strongly linked. (NCBI)

Our lawns are also in serious need of a rethink.

Too many properties feature monocultures that have high maintenance costs.

Their poor water retention places a more significant burden on the underlying precast pipes to drain stormwater.

It also increases pollution through fertilizers and pesticides in the runoff.

These problems seem separate, but they can benefit from a standard solution: getting your child into gardening as a daily activity.

Lovely little girl caring for flowers by spraying with water in the garden

Looking for Green Exercise

Adults are particularly susceptible to stress, anxiety, and the resulting burdens on our mental health.

We know that exposure to natural elements can help counteract those effects.

Exercise also helps to relieve mental fatigue and boost your overall well-being.

Yet despite leading relatively carefree lives, children also have an evolutionary affinity for nature.

Its benefits apply to all ages.

The same goes for exercise.

Many of the health issues young generations are struggling with today could be alleviated by getting into the habit of green exercise early. (Core)

Scientific studies have shown a strong positive correlation between time spent outdoors and physical activity in children.

The natural environment is far more stimulating than indoors, often in front of screens. And those effects are cumulative.

Fit children grow up more confident in their bodies and more likely to derive joy from various sports and activities. T

Those who grow up with lower fitness levels face an uphill battle to escape trending towards a sedentary lifestyle and its associated health risks.

Child planting in backyard

Growing Native Gardens

Green exercise sounds like a great activity, not just for kids but also for the entire family.

However, most of us will find that our opportunities actually to get into nature are limited.

If you live in the country, you’re probably already enjoying the benefits of family outdoor activities.

Raising kids in a more urban setting leaves your access to nature mainly at the mercy of city planners and developers.

This is where our yards come into play.

The artificially maintained, constantly trimmed lawn monoculture of grass is a boring environment for kids to play in.

We can make it more stimulating and far more beneficial to the environment by growing native plants instead.

Native plants are well-adapted to your local conditions.

They are resistant to diseases and pests and require little maintenance, so your garden becomes sustainable.

And they attract a diverse range of pollinators, such as butterflies, birds, and bees.

It’s good for the local ecosystem and fascinating for kids as well.

Child planting in backyard

Making It a Hobby

Make this lawn transformation happen with your kids, and you solve multiple challenges in one go, says Missouri State University.

Your garden becomes an interesting environment where children will love to play and explore the different minutiae of natural features.

They spend more time in the sun and on their hands and knees instead of reclining on the couch all day while holding devices.

It’s best to make this a daily practice so that green exercise becomes a habit for your kids.

Don’t rush to overhaul your landscape in a few days. Tackle one area at a time, and get them involved in the many small decisions.

Best of all, gardening this way teaches them about biodiversity and sustainability through hands-on experience.

It will aid in their development and lead to their participation in a better community for stewarding nature in the future.

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