With ever-changing rules and regulations, being able to get outdoors has been a great comfort to many of us over the past year. We now know how much it can improve our mental and physical health, but do these benefits extend to our children? In choosing to take your baby outside, you’re opening them up to a whole new world of exciting experiences and health benefits. Here are our 6 key reasons to spend more time outdoors with your baby.
New surroundings promote cognitive development
Cognitive development is essentially the process of how children think and ultimately learn. By allowing them to explore new sights and sounds, you’re also encouraging brain stimulation. Simple activities, like smelling different flowers, can help with the formation of brain synapses. This means, when you take your baby outside, their brains can soak up lots of new information and begin piecing it together.
Exploring the outdoors improves motor skills
Did you know that most basic motor skills are developed by the age of five? Whether crawling or walking, being outdoors can help our children master these skills. For babies, new environments challenge their gross motor skills – much like hiking is different from an afternoon stroll – so choosing to take your baby outside for playtime can help improve their overall strength and muscle development.
Supports communication and language development
Discovering the outdoors can be a perfect opportunity for your baby to become more vocal and to help their language development. When exploring new places we often ooh and aah at things that excite us, and the same goes for our babies. By interacting with new things, be it a leaf or a tree trunk, you’re able to narrate their experience and teach your baby new language skills through play.
Encourages better health and immunity
Now more than ever we want to protect our families from illness, but did you know that more time spent outdoors, particularly from a young age, positively correlates with having a stronger immune system? This is because exposure to a wide variety of microbes stimulates and strengthens your immune system. It is even associated with preventing allergies and auto-immune disorders! To put it simply, in choosing to take your baby outside, you’re essentially choosing to invest in their health, long-term.
Sunlight provides your baby with essential vitamin D
As adults, we are often encouraged to invest in supplements to ensure we get all of our vitamins, but what about our babies? When it comes to vitamin D, this can be easily remedied! By taking your baby outside, they can produce their own vitamin D when safely absorbing the sunlight. The benefits include better calcium absorption, improved bone growth, and prevention from bone deformities such as rickets.
More time spent outside leads to better sleep
The words all parents wish to hear: ‘better sleep.’ And the only cost? Spending some time outdoors! It’s actually proven that sun exposure leads to the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps induce sleep. Not only that but more time spent in the natural light helps regulate circadian rhythms (a.k.a the sleep-wake cycle).
So why not try an afternoon stroll for the whole family? It’s not just the babies who will benefit!
Whether it be from the comfort of your own garden or a trip to the local park, the outside world can help boost your baby’s health and development! And with these 6 benefits too, you can be safe in the knowledge that exploring the outdoors can be a great way to create precious childhood memories.