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Nature Deficit Disorder - A must read

Imagine the time when kids no longer play outside, they will not smile upon birds and butterflies and they will not be able to connect to our mother Nature. For some kids that time is coming very soon. At-least, city kids are very soon going to be affected by this "Nature Deficit Disorder". 

Nature Deficit Disorder has no meaning is medical world but it's a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. Studies have proved that kids (and the rest of us) need direct experience with nature for their healthy development of body and mind. 


When I was a kid, I used to get amazed with seeing the ant armies and how they put so much effort to take a break crumb from my kitchen to their ant hills. I used to notice different colored butterflies in my backyard garden. Even dung beetles used to amaze me with their dedication in pushing a ball of poop. I can't get all these things for my son right now where I live. It's a crowded place with buildings everywhere. Roads are full of vehicles, noise, dirt and people. That soothing touch of nature is missing completely. 

Today's kids are smarter and they know so much about environment but that actual touch of nature is continuously dying. Competition from TV,computers and gazettes, more homework and other time pressures, and lack of access to natural-open areas is keeping kids indoors. While technology is helping us in many was, it's abating our kid's access to the physical world. As a parent I have the biggest reason for keeping kids inside, it's Fear. Fear of traffic, fear of crime, fear of stranger-danger and of nature itself. But fear dominates family life. We are not letting kids to go outside and roam around. This is actually sad.
Have a look at some of the facts about kid's contact with nature:
  • As kid's association with nature gets lower and the social, psychological and physical implications become apparent, research shows that nature can offer powerful remedy for such ailments , for example depression, obesity, and attention-deficit disorder. 
  • Exposure to nature can increase a kid’s (and an adult’s) powers of concentration in studies and other activities.
  • In addition to this, a person's creativity is stimulated by his/her childhood experiences in nature.
  • Environment-based education improves test scores and grade-points and helps kids develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making.
Still there is a ray of hope. We can keep things under control. We should teach our kids how to love this nature. We need to let them play and taste the world which also has plants and wildlife. Let them connect to mysteries of nature and let them understand the complexities of life which is not only for humans. 
Take them to bird centuries and zoo often. Involve them to make a small indoor garden and give them responsibility of plants. Go for tracking and hiking. Visit countryside in vacations. We all have a role in reconnecting kids and nature, a connection that benefits their health and well-being. We need to play our role, it's necessary. Because what we do is less important than how we do it. One of the most important gifts to give our kids is an enthusiasm for the outdoors. This gift will last for the rest of a kid’s life long after the video games have disappeared. 
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