Preventing Your Kids from Developing Nature Deficit Disorder

children in nature

It no longer comes as a surprise that people of all ages are growing increasingly dependent on their smartphones and mobile devices. After all, the giant tech companies are making it their mission to ensure that their phones, tablets, or laptops have everything that a consumer wants and more.

That’s why it’s much harder to do away with them, mainly because they offer a form of convenience that you can’t get anywhere else. However, this dependence on technology creates a generation of children with minimal to no exposure to nature and the great outdoors.

This is because instead of playing with their friends under the heat of the sun, they would much rather play on their computers and smartphones while chatting over their chosen messaging platform. Granted, this drastic change may have had something to do with the coronavirus pandemic, but that only reinforces the possibility of developing nature deficit disorder (NDD).

To date, NDD has yet to be classified as a diagnosed medical disorder, but it has real effects on people’s social behaviors and mental health. So, even if it’s not an actual condition yet, it may very well be considered one because that’s the only way that parents can prevent it from happening to their kids.

If you’ve noticed that your children are behaving differently because they’re always cooped up inside your home, there are ways for you to encourage them to go outside, even if it’s only to your backyard. No kid will want to play in an unruly backyard, though, so here are four tips you can use to fix it:

Tip #1: Do Basic Yard Maintenance

Imagine running around in a yard with tall grass that leaves an itchy feeling on the skin after making contact. Or if there are fallen leaves everywhere and you’re not sure if the grass is dry enough to run on. If that’s the situation that your kids will be facing, then they really won’t be bothered to get off the couch and into the sunlight.

However, if you were to do basic yard maintenance regularly, it might encourage them to touch some grass and feel the fresh air on their skin. Don’t let your perfectly usable backyard go to waste simply because you’re too tired to mow the grass every two weeks. Besides, your kids won’t be the only ones benefiting from the act.

man with rash

Tip #2: Prevent Pest Infestations

If your kids have itchy red welts all over their skin every time they run out to play, there’s a big chance that you have a mosquito infestation in your midst. This can be a bad sign, as mosquitoes can breed quickly and spread deadly diseases through their bites. So, the earlier you can address this problem, the better.

For instance, you can buy an environment-friendly mosquito trap made with sustainable materials. This way, you won’t have to worry about the trap releasing toxic chemicals that can be harmful to your kids and the environment. You can also do pest prevention methods to ensure that you’re not putting your kids at risk every time they head to the backyard.

Tip #3: Consider Installing Fencing

A fence is a great way to keep foreign entities outside, but it can also work the other way around. If you have little kids that may accidentally run into the street when you’re not looking, you may want to consider installing fencing around the perimeter of your house. This way, you can prevent an accident like that from happening.

Another benefit of fencing is that it can deter thieves from even attempting to break into your home because they’ll have to exert twice as much effort, so that can be like hitting two birds with one stone. Plus, you’ll have more privacy when you’re relaxing in your backyard if you have fencing installed.

Tip #4: Provide Ample Lighting

If your kids are fond of stargazing, then there’s a possibility that they’ll want to set up camp in your backyard. It can be a great family bonding activity, especially since the yard is already maintained and ready for such an event. But maybe one thing you might have looked over is the lighting situation.

Ample lighting is necessary for the backyard because you can never be too safe, even in your own home. This is especially true if you allow your kids to go out to the yard at night. This isn’t to say that you should get a lamppost or a spotlight installed, but maybe you should ensure that the yard is well-lit and that there are no dark corners where strangers can hide.

Nature deficit disorder is as real as it gets. Like other mental health disorders, it can increase a person’s chances of developing anxiety, depression, or antisocial behaviors simply because they have spent too much time without the presence of nature. So, even if it’s hard, try encouraging your children to spend time outside and initiate activities to make it happen.

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