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Taking your children outside in nature for just 10 minutes a day could stop tantrums, study claims


Just an extra 10 minutes outside in nature can help reduce tantrums in young children, a study suggests.

Children who were more connected to nature during the first coronavirus lockdown were found to have better behavior and general well-being.

Green space is believed to help protect young children from the mental health effects of not going to school, normal daily routines and friendships.

Just an extra 10 minutes outside in nature can help reduce tantrums in young children, study suggests (stock image)

What are tantrums?

Tantrums usually start around 18 months and are very common in toddlers. Hitting and biting are also common.

One reason for this is that toddlers want to express themselves, but find it difficult. They feel frustrated and the frustration comes out as a tantrum.

Once a child can talk more, they are less likely to throw tantrums. By age 4, tantrums are much less common.

These ideas can help you deal with tantrums when they happen.

Source: NHS

Researchers recruited 376 families with children ages three to seven and asked them whether their relationship with nature had increased, decreased, or remained the same between April and July last year.

Parents were also asked about their children’s general behaviors, including aggression, hyperactivity, and “acting” with things like tantrums.

The results show that children who were more interested in nature had significantly lower levels of behavioral problems than children whose connection to gardens, parks and similar green spaces decreased.

They also had a lower level of emotional distress.

Samantha Friedman, who led the study from the University of Cambridge, said: ‘We know that access to and engagement with nature is associated with broad benefits in children and adults, including lowering anxiety and depression and reducing stress.

‘Being connected to nature may have helped protect some British children from the effects of the lockdown.’

She added: ‘Our research revealed the wide range of ways parents can help children become more connected to nature.

“For some, this might be a little daunting, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be camping in the woods and foraging for food — it really can be as simple as taking a walk near your house or sitting outside for ten minutes a day. ‘

The study, published in the journal People and Nature, looked at children ages three to seven because they were likely to experience a lot of inconvenience from the pandemic and also have less understanding of what was happening.

Researchers asked parents if their child’s connection to nature had changed, which some interpreted as spending more or less time in green spaces, while others interpreted it as being more or less interested in nature (SUBS – pls keep).

Tantrums usually start around 18 months and are very common in toddlers.  Hitting and biting are also common (stock image)

Tantrums usually start around 18 months and are very common in toddlers. Hitting and biting are also common (stock image)

Giving your child time to calm down the screen could make tantrums WORSE, scientists warn

Giving toddlers a smartphone or tablet to calm them down could make their tantrums worse, a new study warns.

In experiments, American researchers observed toddlers aged between two and three years after a cartoon they were watching ended prematurely.

Parents were also asked how heavily they depended on electronic media, including TVs, tablets, phones and video games, to calm their child.

Toddlers who were more used to getting electronic media to avoid a tantrum had more extreme emotions when it was removed, the experts found.

While it may seem like a harmless way to have a toddler play on a phone or tablet to distract them when they’re having a hard time, in the long run it can make the reactions worse and worse if they’re taken away.

Researchers advise parents that they should avoid using smartphones and tablets as their number one strategy to avoid a potentially embarrassing tantrum in a public place.

Nearly 54 percent of young children, according to their families, had a deeper ‘connection’ to nature during the initial lockdown for Covid-19.

Parents usually reported that this was because their children became more aware of, interested in or excited about nature, and the family had more free time to spend outdoors, such as planting flowers in the garden.

To assess children’s behavior, researchers questioned their parents about things such as whether they often had tantrums, were generally obedient, often fought with other children, lied, cheated or stole.

Families were also asked about children’s hyperactivity, including being restless, nervous, and not completing tasks.

Children who were more connected to nature during the lockdown had fewer behavioral problems than children whose connection decreased – perhaps because parks and farm parks were closed, or the forest was too far away.

Emotional problems were assessed by asking parents about friendships with children, lonely behavior and whether they were bullied, and whether they were often unhappy or nervous and had many worries.

These emotional problems were lower in children who became more connected to nature, compared to children whose connection decreased or remained the same.

Children from less affluent backgrounds were more likely to be among the 6.6 percent whose connection to nature declined.

The study authors suggest gardening projects in schools, and nature-based learning programs can help protect children’s mental health in difficult times.

dr. Elian Fink, a co-author of the study from the University of Sussex, said: ‘Connecting with nature can be an effective way to support children’s wellbeing, especially when children return to normal routines, such as school and extracurricular activities. .


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